Bachelor of Pharmacy (Chinese Medicine) Name: Clover Wong Ching-man Age: 21 Course: Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons) in Chinese Medicine School: Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) Year of study: Three Duration of programme: Four years Young Post: What is the difference between your course and Chinese medicine? Wong: My course is four years long, while Chinese medicine is five years. In the first three years, we receive theoretical and fundamental training in Chinese medicine, such as how to diagnose a condition, basic clinical knowledge, and history of Chinese medicine. We have to study Chinese pharmacy in-depth, including medicinal formulae, and also learn about medicinal botany and zoology. We have to study classic Chinese medicine texts and see what we can use to heal various types of diseases. We also study modern sciences, such as psychology, anatomy, physiology and biochemistry. Our course is more focused on pharmacy and medicinal formulae. YP: How much do the modern science subjects help? W: They help a lot. We learn how to analyse herbs, insects and animals in a scientific way. We also adopt scientific methods to produce medicine. Some people still think Chinese medicine is old-fashioned and don't really trust it. But we can tell them that modern Chinese medicine is safe as everything is based on scientific analysis and experiments. YP: In Chinese herbal shops, there are numerous drawers to store herbs. Do you have to memorise what's in them? W: Not really (there's laughter). Usually, there are a few types of herbs in each drawer. They are normally used together. Modern practice is to label each drawer so we know what's in there. Of course, we still have to recognise each herb and medicinal product. In some cases, this is difficult. For example, most of the seeds look similar. We have to recognise them according to the smell, colour, and so on. YP: Does your course allow you to gain practical experience? W: Lectures take up most of our time during the first three years. But I did internships at HKBU's Chinese medicine clinic over the past two summers. I helped out at the dispensary and saw how it was run. I learned when to use the medicine in its original form and when to use it as a powder. YP: What will you do in the final year? W: We will work on our final-year project. We can choose from four main themes. I may choose Chinese medicine preparation but I haven't made up my mind yet. YP: Have you faced any difficulties so far? W: There are a lot of facts and theories to memorise so it took me some time to get used to it in the first year. I'd studied some science subjects for the A-Levels but now I have to study them in Chinese, instead of English. I have to get used to the Chinese terminology and that can take a little time. Those who are interested in taking the course should polish their Putonghua skills as many of the lecturers and professors are from the mainland. Admission: Jupas (Joint University Programmes Admissions System) candidates should have passes in two A-Level subjects or one A-Level plus two AS-Level subjects. They must also pass the AS-Level Chinese Language and Culture, as well as Use of English exams. Career prospects: Graduates can supervise the dispensary in Chinese medicine institutions. They should be well-versed in quality assessment and control of Chinese medicine products. They should also be knowledgeable about research, development, production and marketing of Chinese medicine products. Some graduates are currently working on Chinese medicine licensing in the government's health department.