The cafe at Duke-NUS Medical School's foyer draws a congregation of people of many backgrounds, from Imperial College London to Nanyang Technological University, and from former investment consultants to religious studies graduates. All are there grabbing a bite before the next medical class starts.
On Aug 12, Duke-NUS Medical School enrolled its 10th batch of students. The latest batch has 61 students.
Unlike the typical undergraduates studying medicine fresh from pre-university, these students are pursuing medicine after a first bachelor's degree in a different field. While 80 per cent of the students are Singaporeans or permanent residents, the rest come from all over the world.
Some join the school after spending years honing their craft in another field. Others even held senior positions in their companies, leading comfortable lives before choosing to heed their calling to join the medical profession.
Duke-NUS Medical School's former vice-dean of education Robert Kamei noted that the diversity of students brings varying perspectives to the medical field. "They've thought about medicine and sciences in a different way."
During their time in school, students work together in teams of six or seven throughout the year. Having a spectrum of backgrounds in each team means that students bring different ideas and thoughts, Dr Kamei explained.
Students graduate with either a Doctor of Medicine after four years or a Doctor of Philosophy, which takes four to five years to complete.