GIS Alumni Branching out to New Pastures – Tawfique Rizwan

Tawfique Rizwan (Class of 2020)

Studying Medicine at the University of Manchester (from the comfort of home in Malaysia!)


Can you share with us your experiences at university so far?

This year has been interesting, to say the least. It is a first-year at university I would never have predicted, but then again, 2020 has been a year where everything has been far from normal!

So far, my university experience encompasses many zoom classes and recorded lectures on a weekly basis. Most events and group activities have been cancelled and delayed for later in the year. Although zoom is not optimal, especially for making friends when settling into university, my university has worked hard to ensure students on the same course, and those with the same interests and passions, have had the ability to meet each other.

I believe that although my classes are fully online, my learning has not been heavily hindered. As a medical student, there is an important face to face sessions that I have missed this semester, but the university has moved them to next semester. Other than that, my course has weekly tutorial sessions in which we go through the content for the week and summarise the work at the end of the week.

It has been interesting to start university in the UK whilst still here in Malaysia, but at the same, I have to admit there are certain benefits to being able to do my course from home. However, I am excited to go to Manchester in the next few months, if COVID-19 allows my lessons back online in some form.


How did GIS prepare you for University life?

GIS has had many sessions and talks which helped me to grasp what university life would be like, and how I would have to adapt to the differences at GIS and University. 

As someone who applied for Medicine, I attended MedSoc. This society arranged in school helped me to grasp concepts such as how the course is carried out, and how learning can vary from university to university. 

GIS regularly brought in alumni to talk about their university experiences. Hearing from Alumni at medical school helped me to gauge how to study and what I should do during medical school; it also helped me to plan out how I would make my notes and revise.

GIS having designated staff as Higher Education advisers also really helps students when they have questions, either about the university or the course. I do believe I speak for the entire cohort when I say this was one of the most useful things GIS have in place!


How did the Thrive Internship Programme help you with the Medicine Degree that you are pursuing now?

My experience on the Thrive Programme covered one week at Newcastle University, Johor and three weeks at CVSKL Hospital.  It was an amazing opportunity and one that helped me learn how a hospital setting works, the day-to-day life of a doctor and the basics of scientific research. 

At Newcastle, we worked with Biomedical students at the university to carry out basic research techniques and create presentations to display our findings. This helped me to learn about the process of scientific research from start to end, and as my course does encourage large amounts of research, this has helped me with the experience required to apply for research positions at university.

The three weeks at CVSKL helped me to see the different jobs in a hospital setting. From nurses to doctors, to other medical staff, I managed to experience the jobs of all the people in a hospital setting, observing what they do and also how they interact with each other. This has given me an idea of how a hospital setting works, which is important as I will be spending the latter three years of my course and the majority of my working life in a hospital.


Why would you recommend the Thrive Internship Programme to other GIS students? 

I would 100% recommend the Thrive Internship Programme to anyone at GIS who has the opportunity. I have spoken with many students, both on the medical internship and the other internships, and the general consensus of all the students is that it was an extremely useful experience for everyone.

It allows you to get a taste of the job you want to go into and will help motivate you if you enjoy the job or help to give you the realisation you need to look for an alternative career path if that is what you feel.

At the end of the day, I know that although a two-week internship is mandatory at the beginning of year 12, the one month GIS Thrive internship gives you more time to fully experience all the different aspects of the workplace/job you hope to be in in the future.


A huge ‘Thank You’ to Alumni Tawfique Rizwan for sharing his experiences both at GIS and beyond with us. It has been great to reconnect with you, and we wish you all the best in your endeavours.

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