Fifty-two aspiring doctors from Malaysia will spend this week in the country town of Rawson, near Moe in central Gippsland, learning about issues unique to rural medicine.
The students, who are the first intake of Monash University Malaysia 's Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery, will talk to local residents, visit healthcare services and tour industry to gain an appreciation of rural medicine.
They will spend the next two years studying with their Australian counterparts before completing the remaining three years of their degrees in Malaysia . All students studying medicine at Monash undertake rural placements in their first year of study.
A special program has been devised for the Malaysian students that includes social activities as well as practical experience.
They will meet local healthcare groups including aged care providers and dermatology clinicians who have agreed to talk about their experiences of healthcare in a small town.
They will also visit the snowfields at Mount St Gwinnear and visit a local national park in the hope of spotting native Australian animals.
The head of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at Monash University Malaysia Professor Dato Dr Anuar Zaini will join the students this week.
The head of international projects in the medicine faculty, Professor Chris Browne, said the program would give the Malaysian students an idea of medical facilities in country Victoria as well as a sense of what rural Victoria is like.
"At Monash we like all our students to get an international experience; this is one way we can enhance the Australian experience for our Malaysian students," he said.
In Malaysia , all medical students are sent to country areas to practise once they have completed their degrees. The same will apply for the Monash University Malaysia medical students.
"The medical facilities in country areas in Malaysia are underdeveloped compared to Kuala Lumpur , so it is appropriate that the students go into country areas that are not as well developed as Melbourne," Professor Browne said.
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