Priyanka Liz was part of the first in-take of biomedical science students when the Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia campus opened in 2011. Her degree in Malaysia is helping her achieve her dream of becoming a scientist.
"The Malaysia campus had a great group of global lecturers and they really pushed me into pursuing my interests, which were primarily immunology and studying the immune system," Priyanka says. She notes Dr Nicholas Morris was particularly good at listening to each student's concerns and creating a warm environment for their studies.
The campus, which is based in Johor, specialises in undergraduate degrees in medicine (MBBS) and biomedical sciences (BSc). It aims to provide globally acclaimed programmes in medical education, which respond to the changing needs of the Malaysian healthcare system. The studies are completely aligned to Newcastle University's UK-based provision, and Priyanka says there was a seamless relationship with the UK campus, with students getting the same academic experience, despite being on the other side of the planet.
One of her favourite things about the campus was the social side: "There were so many societies we could join! We started a bioscience society and this has left a good legacy as new students continue to join and be a part of it.
"The society helped us all to become really close friends; it bridged the gap between the biomedical and medicine students."
Priyanka is also a fan of the location of the Malaysian campus, which is in a quiet area of Johor. "It's away from distractions," she explains. "It's far enough away from the realities of everyday life for you to be able to really focus. However, you can still go out and have a good social life too, so there's a good mix there."
Post-Malaysia, Priyanka is currently coming to the end of a Master's degree in Immunology at Imperial College London. "I've had the best time," she says. "I've worked on projects looking at the virus influenza in a secure lab. We also look at how the immune system remembers the infection and builds up strength, should it have to fight the same disease in the future."
Priyanka now hopes to pursue her interest in science and immunology. She says: "I am so grateful for my time in Malaysia as it encouraged me to go into immunology, and that's now where I see my future."
5 ways we're improving later life
We're facing an ageing population crisis, but Newcastle University's researchers are working to keep people happy and healthy as they get older.
Helping the environment
From protecting coral reefs to electric cars, here are six ways we're safeguarding the planet for future generations.