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Student Story: On the Path to Medicine

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This article is sponsored by Canning College

When Isaac Ng witnessed a traumatic medical emergency during a return visit to his home in Malaysia, his mind was finally set on becoming a doctor. At the time, he was helping out at a local school when he was witness to a tragic event.

“A young girl suffered from a heart attack and subsequently suffered from a seizure,” he says. “The girl was in a really critical condition; pretty much everyone was panicked.

“I saw the whole thing and the feeling of not being able to do anything to help without worsening the situation really stuck with me long after the incident.”

The tragedy of the incident prompted Isaac into serious thoughts about his own future and, in particular, his academic career path.

“What was going through my mind was, ‘Do I really want to do medicine?’” he says. “By the end of the day, I had fixed my mind on that.

“People can’t be replaced, and I want to do what I can to make sure that people are able to see their family members again.”


Born and raised in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, Isaac had always wanted to travel. Study gave him an ideal opportunity to learn about new people and assist in his personal development.

“I’d always wanted to explore the world outside of Kuching because I’d been growing up there my whole life,” he says. “I always wanted to see more of the world, explore what it’s like [and] what other people are like.”

Following in the footsteps of his cousins, he chose to start his international study at Canning College in Perth, Western Australia, where the Foundation Program provided him with the perfect preparation for university.

He excelled at Canning and, after completing the one-year Foundation Program and achieving a Combined Percentage Score of 95.3% (99.5 Australian Tertiary Admission Rank), he was awarded a Winthrop Scholarship by the University of Western Australia (UWA).

“My year at Canning College established the foundation of my habits and who I am today at UWA,” Isaac says. “In terms of academics, the subjects I’ve studied at Canning College provided a solid exposition of what to expect at UWA and the work ethic I’ve developed while studying has carried through my time at UWA.

“The endless support from my previous teachers from Canning College as well as back home in Malaysia provides me with the motivation to be better not just academically, but as a person overall.”


Isaac was drawn to UWA for several reasons, including the university’s reputation and campus location to the west of the Central Business District. His family also had a history with the university.

“Relatives of mine have studied at UWA in previous years and it’s been sort of a family tradition to complete our higher education at UWA,” he says. “Studying at UWA helped me realise the importance of maintaining a healthy social life as excellence in life is no longer defined by academic results alone, but as well as how well I communicate and relate to the people I meet.”


Although working towards his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Pharmacology has helped provide Isaac with career direction, his focus sharpened suddenly after the incident in Malaysia. After completing his science degree in 2019, Isaac will apply for UWA’s post-graduate program in medicine and is looking forward to continuing his studies at the university, as well as the benefits it will bring to his other passion, cookery.

“I enjoy the laboratories the most as each laboratory session has provided me with deeper insight into the theory studied during lectures as well as develop an appreciation for the practical aspects of lab research,” he says.

“Lab sessions have also helped in developing my organisational and preparation skills with detailed procedures that need to be followed through, akin to following a recipe in a cookbook, and I can honestly say the skill has spilled over to my skills in cooking.”