This article is sponsored by The British Council
From a young girl who loves reading anatomy books and pretends to be a doctor with stethoscopes during playtime, Dr Amalina Che Bakri is now living out her childhood dreams of helping people and making a difference.
As a general surgeon and a Clinical Research Fellow at Imperial College London, Dr Amalina has made major contributions to the medical field with her work presented at international conferences and published in high-impact medical journals.
During her leisure time, she curates public health educational information on social media, namely her over a million followers on Instagram and Twitter. Partly due to this, Amalina has received several awards of appreciation from the Malaysian Ministry of Youth and Sports, Tatler Asia’s Gen T Leader of Tomorrow, and even from the Malaysian Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King).
In a recent Smart Talk Webinar Series 2021-2022 hosted by The British Council, Dr Amalina shared her personal experience about her tertiary education and career journey in the UK.
Her journey started when she made headlines scoring 17 A’s in the 2004 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and was promptly awarded the Kijang Emas Scholarship from the Central Bank of Malaysia to further her studies.
Finding guidance from the advisors of the British Council in Kuala Lumpur, she discusses her path to study medicine in the UK during the webinar. Moderated by Fraser Deas, Head of Education Services, British Council China, Dr Amalina said, “The reason why I chose the UK was mainly because the UK has many world-renowned Universities, ranked among the best in the world. You will get a very high-quality education without any doubts, particularly for medicine.”
Currently pursuing her PhD at Imperial College London, she graduated as a doctor from the University of Edinburgh and completed her Masters at the University of Cambridge.
Recalling fondly about making new friends from all over the world and learning about various cultures, including travelling as part of the student experience in the United Kingdom, she said, “International students are always welcomed in the UK. You don’t feel out of place because there are just so many different and diverse communities. There is just so much to do from the big city in London where you can visit museums, go to theatres, go for a walk in the Royal Parks, visit historical landmarks, visit the countryside in Scotland or even in England.”
Even though medical students are always known to be the busiest on campus, Dr Amalina’s on-campus experience was nevertheless filled with socialising and performing as a part of the medics musical theatre performance. “It was a fun time for me despite being busy but also at the same time I enjoyed myself during my time at uni,” she mentioned.
As a general surgeon with an ongoing PhD, one would wonder how she balances it all. “For me, it’s about time management, planning, and being able to meet deadlines. There is always so much to do, so it is important to identify the important and urgent tasks. It is also important to know when to take a break as well,” she added. She would also typically plan months in advance and limit her screen time to one hour a day.
Dr Amalina had many opportunities to work, gain support and guidance from top world-renowned consultant surgeons in the universities that she attended. “It definitely helped provide a direction on where I wanted to go and also helped me with my job applications for pursuing my career in the UK. I learned not only how to become a good doctor but also the skills on how to survive during my working life,” she said.
When asked about the biggest lessons she learned while studying in the UK, Dr Amalina said: “I learned to be myself. Being in the UK, I have been able to express who I really am. I can be quite outspoken in topics I’m passionate about; such as women’s empowerment and fighting medical misinformation. This is a behaviour that has been fostered here in the UK, everyone is able to express their own opinions and be outspoken.”
For Dr Amalina, her way to keep doing what she does is to know what her end goal is: “I know what I want so I will just keep pushing myself to overcome these challenges even though I know how difficult it is,” she said while adding that she could not have come so far without loved ones. “Having a support network is vital in order for you to continue what you’re doing,” she added, giving props to her husband, family, and friends in the UK and in Malaysia.
In the final moments of the webinar, Dr Amalina encouraged everyone to have passion, perseverance, and motivation to be successful in whatever path one might take. “Just work hard, it is really important. Open up your mind, get out of your comfort zone, and set up your own goals in life,” she said as she challenges everyone to stay true to themselves and to not be afraid to challenge the status quo when something seems wrong.
“Never give up and just remember what your end goal is. Anyone can be successful if you put your heart and mind into it,” said Dr Amalina as she ended on an inspiring note.
Watch the recording here:
Hosted by the British Council, Smart Talk Webinar Series 2021-2022 gives audience insights into the journey of studying and living in the UK from the perspective of exceptional individuals that have achieved success in their fields. Catch a lineup of thought-provoking speakers among British and Malaysian talents on these dates below:
- Ian Yee, award-winning investigative journalist and Co-Founder of The Fourth (16 October, 4pm)
- Celyn Bricker, artist and Co-Founder of CELU Studio (23 October, 4pm)
- Danial Rahman, Director of the CEO’s Office at Sunway Education Group (30 October, 4pm)
Register at https://www.britishcouncil.my/study-uk/smart-talks-webinar-series-2021 and follow British Council’s social media, @BritishCouncilMalaysia (Facebook) or @my_british (Instagram) for more info about studying in the UK or the webinar.
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