Help For International Students Coming To Flinders

Discussion in 'General International Discussion' started by vegemitosis, Aug 11, 2002.

  1. vegemitosis

    vegemitosis Junior Member
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    I am a medical student at flinders and don't mind helping some of you students coming from overseas. I did not get all the information I wish I had before I got here and now I want to hopefully start a trend of students truly helping students. I am from North America and please ask me anything. Also, as I answer your questions, I will try to add more information which may be useful to you... it was to me.
     
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  3. Centrum

    Centrum SMILEY KING
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    How do you like it? Give a brief synopsis of what you feel are the advantages and disadvantages of the school as well as you personal feelings on the curriculm, location, people and school in general. We would all love to hear! Thank you!
     
  4. vegemitosis

    vegemitosis Junior Member
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    These are some general questions I answered for other people, I hope they help, and if you have anymore questions please feel free to ask.


    PBL is interesting. I don't know if I like it much, but it does
    have some attractive values. The work you do for PBL is a part of
    your study time, since you get a sheet at the end of every case with the learning issues you should have covered in the case. So some of the research is very useful, but a lot of the time you go down the wrong track and don?t cover a lot of the necessary learning issues. The best thing about PBL is that it gives you a lot of time to study on your own for the USMLE, as I have already started doing. Also, it gives you a lot of free time when you are not close to exam periods. PBL hours out side of class vary a lot because it depends on how many learning issues your group comes with for that day. You will meet twice a week and three hours each time for PBL. There are really no assignments or projects that come with PBL or the course for that matter! The group will decide how they want to approach PBL and whether they want to divide up the learning issues. I don't recommend that since someone might get the most important issue and
    you would lose out on learning it on your own. Lectures are awful for the most part. There are a few good ones but it is medical school and this many poor lectures isn?t not tolerable. But the best thing about it is that you will have time to study for the USMLE. By the way, PBL is mandatory attendance, which I find to be a joke considering we are adults in medical school, and should be able to decide what is best for us when it comes to learning.

    2)The only time you might have an assignment or project is when you choose your elective, which is 3 units of any subject from a list of courses. (Biochem, Pharm, International Health, Pathology, etc. --You choose). But the electives are average at best and are quite disorganized. Once again you will have lots of leisure time, but you will get out of it what you put into it. Study smart and play hard!!!

    3) The sports facilities are far below average. The weight room is not Gold's Gym. But they offer lots of sports clubs (sailing, aikido, wrestling, basketball, soccer, tae kwon do, fencing and much more) They are not free but are reasonably priced and the instructors are all licensed pros. I pay about 70 AUS dollars per year for the gym, basketball and squash courts. They do have aerobics. They do have a treadmill, cycle, and a versa-climber.

    4) As far as how the ozzie students feel about us in their
    classes.... well I am the wrong person to ask. There is a lot of animosity from them and they always make fun of americans, so if you are not from the US, then you will be okay. I knew the arabs hated the US but I never expected it from the ozzies. They seem to think that all foreigners got in just because they paid full price for their education. But if you ignore the students (I call them pseudo-intellectuals), you will be fine, because the locals here have no problems with us and are kind overall. Also, in fairness, not all the students are like that, as some are really great. But also, the instructors seem to make lots of anti-american comments often. Even though they recommend American text books, and American/Canadian websites for good study and research material. It is a love-have relationship. Mostly jealousy. But like I said, if you aren't American, you will be fine. Well I hope this helped. All, in all it is an ok school with lots of clinical experience, and that is what is most important when you start practicing one day. But don?t expect any help with the USMLE here. They offer no such thing. And the

    5) Public transport is pretty shabby.
    You could wait for some time depending on the distance
    and where the stop is. there is no late bus transport so
    if you study late at school, you will have to get a ride from
    someone or catch a cab. But there are lots of places to
    rent close to school. But there are lots of bicyclists
    here, and biking around is okay. A car isn?t absolutely
    necessary. But it is nice to have if you want a change of
    scenery., which you will need after a semester of the
    same old stuff day in and day out.

    6) About car insurance. It is very expensive if you don't
    get a letter from your insurance in Canada stating that
    you are a good driver, and have no accidents, or major
    tickets. Also, being under the age of 25 is a factor here.
    that causes a major hike in your insurance rates. You
    don't have to buy insurance here though since you get
    third party liability when you register your car. That
    means if the other person is injured when you hit them,
    the government will pay for their medical bills. But you
    still are responsible for loss of work, car damage to
    theirs and yours. I have full coverage here with a letter
    fro my insurance carrier and my rate is 300-350 per
    year. But I am also over 25. I got it for peace of mind.
    Parking on campus is about 70-90 dollars per year. All monetary amounts that I mention are in AUS dollars.
    But Like I said, if you get here early enough, you can
    find a place near campus, and walk.

    7) There is very little culture in Adelaide. It is a
    predominantly caucasian place and they seem to discriminate
    toward aboriginals, and other cultures. But there are
    Italian, Greek, and Asian communities, albeit very small.
    We have a few aboriginals in our class but they are
    1/16 aboriginal, or less and don?t look it at all. Our class
    has some Indians(2), and Middle Easterners(3), but
    that is it. Not very diverse for a class of 100+.

    8) About work. Good luck. It isn?t easy to find work here unless you are young and are willing to do anything. They want the younger people sine they can pay them less. There is some sort of law here that entitles you to receive more pay the older you are. Good law in some aspects, but now the employers discriminate against older people.


    Hope this helps.
     
  5. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    I'm rather disappointed to hear that some animosity still exists amongst the Aussie students toward Americans. In my day, this existed as well, many of the students falsely believing that we kept out friends of theirs. The Dean actually called a meeting and explained that they had an American quota and an Aussie quota, neither one "kept the other out" and that, on average, the Americans had higher entrance exam scores and gpas, that kept the Aussies quiet. It would be foolish to believe that we aren't there for the money, but its unfortunate that some anomosity still exists (as if we, as individuals, are responsible for the American influence upon Australian culture.)

    Don't blame Adelaide for its "whiteness". While you'll see more people of color in other cities, the sense of racism, especially toward their own indigenous people, reaches all the Australian cities, even those supposedly more cultured and modern.

    Sorry that the lectures still suck. They've been teaching medicine for over 30 years, you'd think they would have improved this. Perhaps the faculty are just as confused as we are/were about what to include. I must disagree with your comments about PBL being mandatory. It really HAS to be. Otherwise, a LOT of people simply wouldn't go - I didn't find it an effective way to learn either, but you agreed to learn in a group fashion, and if everyone were permitted, as adults, to decide when and where they wanted to learn, you can bet a lot of people wouldn't show up. Really unfair to the rest of the group and the tutor.

    Students should NOT expect USMLE help. During my first year they had some half-hearted attempts at USMLE lecture series, which bombed out and quickly disappeared. No matter - the material presented wasn't useful.

    However, despite the negative picture you've painted (haven't you anything good to say about Flinders?), most of us have done well and are moving on with residency in the US.
     
  6. The Pill Counter

    The Pill Counter Senior Member
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    The animosity thing must be amplified at Flinders with such a large proportion international students. We're only a few internationals in a class size of over 200 in Queensland, so I haven't noticed it. Keep in mind, anywhere, you will not endear yourself to the locals if the most common thing out of your mouth is "it's not like that back in the states..." I"ve lived in Europe, Canada, and now Australia, and as much as it's unjustified, there's a bit of anti-Americanism everywhere. I get a look of indignation everytime that disappears when I say I'm Canadian.
    (Except Bombay, India - they loved Bill Clinton!)
     
  7. vegemitosis

    vegemitosis Junior Member
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    Hello Stranger,

    Long time no talk. You probably don't remember me.
    I agree that there has to be some sort of control of PBL attendance, and I did agree to be a part of it when I applied for this course. Nevertheless, it leaves much to be desired. I did not try to come across as so negative, I am thankful to be here most of the time. I am sure that I will survive this place and make a good physician some day. On a positive note, the clinical experience is great and makes everthing bearable. The clinical exposure we get here during first and second year is definitely unparalleled in the US. I also agree that we shouldn't expect USMLE prep help here, but they do advertise that electives will help with USMLE prep, although they don't. I took the biochemistry elective and am currently enrolled in pathology and they both are totally disorganized, and of no help at all, except for the autopsies we get to observe. I do know that most american grads go on to do very well as you have, and I am thankful for that. I guess it is hard to be open minded when we get so much anti-american sentiment all the time, even from lecturers.

    By the way, how is the Milton S. H. Medical Center treating you these days. Have you had a chance to meet any first year students from 2001?

    take care of yourself
     
  8. vegemitosis

    vegemitosis Junior Member
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    Hey Pill Counter,

    That is pretty much the way it is. But I never say "That is they way we do it in the states". I know better than that and am old enough to realize that america is my home but it is not necessarily the greatest place on earth in most peoples eyes. But I never noticed anti-ozzie sentiment or anti-canadian sentiment or even anti-european sentiment in the US. They seem to love those places. It is just very sad.
     
  9. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    HI veggie...

    If Flinders is advertising that the electives will help with USMLE studying that is an exaggeration to say the least. As you've so rightly noted, they are disorganized and at least in my experience, the material offered wasn't detailed enough or for long enough period to be of use.

    When you ask if I've met any first years from 2001 - are you speaking of first year medical students here at PSU or at Flinders? Well, not that it matters - the answer is "no" to both. :D
     
  10. MD1088

    MD1088 Member
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    I am a US citizen Year 1 at Flinders. I agree w/lots of veggies thoughts but strongly disagree w/some. The lectures are varied like any school, some are exceptional, some are dry. Like most schools, if you dont like the lecture, leave. The problem I find is that the foreign students here really expect service for the money they pay, perhaps justifiably. But service is not an Aussie strength whether at school or in a restaraunt. They are mush less uptight about waiting in lines! As far as electives go, I find them helpful. Most students though do absolutely no preparation or student directed learning, they just show up and expect to be taught pathology. They ask no questions, they bring no materiel, they just complain how disorganized they are. Here is the secret - organize them yourself! This an education for grown ups only, that should be stressed to any potential applicant. If you expect to be led by your hand through this, stay home. As for anti-US hostility, it definitley exists but I think its also that we, as Americans, are really sensitive to it. Thank Bush for that. It is hard to take though when the lecturer complains about the Yanks...particularly when quoting american research. Adelaide is pleasant and Flinders is a good school. I had the choice to stay in the US and I came and am saving a fortune. Its a good prgram if you are able to direct your own studies.
     
  11. MD1088

    MD1088 Member
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    Veggie. You may be shocked to find that most non-americans are not jealous of us as you said. Most non-americans (thanks to hollywood and eminem) percieve america as a dangerous sesspool of vice, decay, and corruption (they may not be so true for the canadians who seem to slam us the most) . Most do not envy us, they resent our arrogance, our bellicose leadership, our thumbing our nose at global efforts to protect the environment, along with about a zillion other things, real and imagined.
     
  12. vegemitosis

    vegemitosis Junior Member
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    Hey MD1088,

    I think that you are confusing dry with poor. It is ok for a lecture to be dry, sometimes the topic demands that, but a poorly organized lecture by someone who only comes down from the bush once a year to teach is intolerable. And how about the repeatedly cancelled lectures, of which some are rescheduled, some a month or more later, and some are never made up. And lecture notes that are incomprehensible due to the format they are presented in, is unacceptable. And how about the lecturers who come in and ?power click? through power point slides so fast that only a video camera could keep, and on top of that, lecture notes are not even available for those lectures. You also speak of medical school as a restaurant. Good Service? How about good teaching! I am very good at self directed learning but I, as I am sure you do, expect good teaching. And some people need the guidance, so it is better to have it readily available and if an individual doesn?t need it then they can choose not to utilize it. But I absolutely do agree that many students do no preparation at all. And that will affect how much a person can extract from electives. People who don?t prepare regularly are not very serious about medicine, and realize in this type of course that they can get through with very little motivation and studying. I know that you have realized that by now. Nevertheless, you cannot learn medicine completely on your own without guidance, unless you want to turn it into a 10-12 year program. If that was true then medicine should be a CORRESPONDENCE COURSE. It would save lots of time and money for everyone. Skipping out on lectures in medical school is unacceptable. This is not college! This is where you will gain much of the knowledge you will need to serve and save lives some day. This is not organic chemistry in college. This is medicine, and you and I are privileged to be a part of it. It is not some fast food joint where you just decide to eat somewhere else. Also, much of the examination material comes from the lectures. The people who teach us have much more knowledge and experience than you or I ever will, and I attend lectures hoping that they would impart some of that knowledge to us. Sometimes they do, and other times they, unfortunately, miss the mark. When I said lectures were average at best, I meant overall. True there have been many good lectures, but ?exceptional" is a bit of a stretch. There also have been many more poor lectures. Except for an individual named Andy Macdowell. He was in a class of his own, and now he is gone. By the way, don?t blame that knucklehead, Pres. Bush for the problems we encounter here. There are many other reasons, and Bush did not create the American medical system that is continually attacked, day in and day out. Of course we are more sensitive to the anti-American sentiment. We are North Americans!?!?!?!?!? What kind of statement is that?

    Adelaide is very pleasant in many regards, and Flinders is a good school. I can?t deny that. But a Taco Bell and a Starbucks would be nice.

    As a side note, you said that you had the choice to attend a US medical school. Are you the person who did actually attend a US medical school for a semester, and then left and came here? If you are, then I never would have expected the type of response you gave considering you are so pro-USA. Or are you an Ozzie perpetrating as an American? Nevertheless, glad you are enjoying the course. Try to show it more often in school. :)
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    Hey Kim, I meant at PSU.
     
  13. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    Hey Kim, I meant at PSU. [/B][/QUOTE]

    No I haven't - the 3rd year and 4th year students rotate with us, but we don't have much contact with the junior medical students.
     
  14. treesap

    treesap Member
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    vegemitosis-
    I am also a first year at Flinders...but I really enjoy it! I have experienced a few of the inconveniences as well-like Adelaide not having good transportation, crappy business hours and inadequate sports facilities (for me anyway). Those things just are part of living in another place...idiosyncrasies rather than major factors. Adelaide has great stuff to do, lots of art and culture you just need to know where to look.

    One of the best things about our course IS the diversity among the students. You mentioned you didn't think it was, but I am really perplexed. In our first year class alone we have people who were lawyers, nurses, police officers, environmental scientists, researchers, OTs, PTs, naturopaths, engineers, pilots, veterinarians, PhDs, journalists, pharmaceutical reps, parents, teachers and many other professions before choosing medicine as a career. We have people from Australia, India, the US, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Vietnam and many others. I actually didn't know we had any Aboriginal people in our class, but just because they don't "look it" doesn't mean they aren't. Being Aboriginal is being accepted by your community as Aboriginal, it doesn't have anything to do with "blood" or race mixing. We have had quite a few lectures about Aboriginal health and one of the problems is that few people our age make it through a university education. I am glad Flinders advertises their desire to admit Aboriginal people, but I understand that the pool of people with one degree looking for a second is admittedly small.

    On a lighter note, I too have experienced the "animosity" from the Aussies toward the Americans. I think that is cultural as well, they like to make fun of people, that is their sense of humor. I learned early on to dish it back and I've had no problems since. I do get annoyed when they make snide little comments about things, yet they really have no idea what they are talking about. My first PBL group constantly ragged on the American medical system, which I endured for a while...until I realized they really had NO clue how it works. They were just uninformed and all of their info was overheard tidbits that didn't equal the whole picture. Don't get me started on that topic! Anyhow, I do think that most Americans would do well with an overseas education. We are so isolated from reality, it is good to see how the REST of the world thinks. Choose to do with it what you will, but I think being here has been very enriching culturally and academically.

    BTW, "good on ya" for starting to study for the USMLE...you taking it after year two or three? I don't know how I am going to remember all this crap...I don't even remember the biochem from last semester. I guess I'll have to sign over one of my loan checks to Kaplan!
     
  15. MD1088

    MD1088 Member
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    Thanks for the post crepitus. Well said. I agree that USMLE prep is actually pretty good here. I am currently doing the cardiovascular block as well as concurrent USMLE prep and the materiel matches up pretty well. I do feel like I need to hit the micro, biochem, and the like a bit more thoroughly though. In terms of physiology I feel I am exceeding that which is required for the USMLE based on the practice questions (UCV's, etc). One question I have been trying to get a consensus on...When do you recommend writing the USMLE? Some say right after second year, some say no rush and do it during third. I would rather get it done with. How did you go or your colleagues go about it? Later.
     
  16. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    Interesting thoughts about the supposed anti-American sentiments found down under. I was often flummoxed by those attitudes when they came from people who were perfectly willing to indulge in American commerce when it suited them...they complain loudly about the American influence over Aussie culture but are more than happy to shop at Big W (anyone ever heard of Sam Walton and his Wal-Mart stores?), McDonalds, etc. Americans decried the loss of the little businessman as well - we've just moved on from it.

    Australians and Americans are more alike than anyone would care to admit. Australian culture, however you'd like to define it, is based on an Anglo-Saxon background. Both Australians and Americans come from the same place and if it hadn't been for the tyranny of distance and the lower population numbers in Australia, they certainly would have just as likely been responsible for developing big-buck burger chains and discount stores. I don't for a moment believe that we are all that different and believe that a lot of the bias is merely misinformation based on hours spent watching American network tv. :rolleyes:
     
  17. vegemitosis

    vegemitosis Junior Member
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    All right, I am back with a vengeance.... Not really ;)

    I am sorry to all of those who wanted info on Flinders, and ended up getting other stuff. Anti-Americanism is a touchy issue. I am sorry to have brought it up. Before I actually give some more useful info for you gals, and guys who are coming here, I just want to clear some things up.

    First of all:
    XXXXX Kim
    I could not agree with you more. We have much more similarities than differences with the ozzies. And contrary to to what MD1088 says, people here are hooked on American TV, music, etc. Just run down to Marion Shopping center and see what the hottest sellers are in the music shop here. Last Time I checked, EMINEM was at the top. Not my personal preference but hey "different strokes for different folks". By the way I got my hands on some of your typed notes from CVS. They say "prepared lovingly for you by Kim Cox? Good notes.... thanks. :love:
    I hope mine are passed along, long after I am gone.

    XXXX Also Crepitus said that USMLE prep was fair here, not good. In some aspects I agree, but opinions vary on this and most say that except for physiology, prep is poor. But as I said before, they don't have to have USMLE prep for us since most students are not taking it here. After all, it is an international medical school. By the way USMLE prep matches up poorly with the cardiovascular lock (No arrhythmias, no myopathies, no vascular stuff, just heart, and almost every case had LVH)

    XXXXX Sorry treesap, I did not mean to come across as not enjoying it. I am. As I sad before the clinical exposure here is awesome and we definitely would not be getting that in the U.S. this early. But as for diversity, the last time I checked, cultural diversity was not determined by a person's education, and employment background.

    XXXXX Crepitus, thanks for the post on the pros and cons regarding when to take the boards.

    XXXXXX Now on to some other tips that I thought of recently.

    0) First of all, you should all read "BRS Physiology" by Linda Costanzo to get you ready for HH (Human Homeostasis), which is the first 8 week block you will encounter. It will give you all a good background and review for that.
    Also, I strongly recommend buying a book called "Clinical Microbiology made ridiculously simple" by Gladwin. It is very expensive here, and almost impossible to get, and only costs $30 in the U.S. It will give you a good base for IMD(Identity, Microbes & Defense) which is the second block.

    1) Buy "First Aid for the USMLE- Step 1" immediately and use it as you go along in the course. It will help with mnemonics, and high yield information for the course & USMLE. PLus it will give you a jump start for the USMLE.
    2) Don?t bother bringing notebooks or folders with you. They don't use the 8.5 x 11 sheets as you do there. It is called A4 here and will stick out of the top of your folders. Also they don't use the good old fashioned three-hole punch. They use a two-hole punch and unless you want holes up and down the sides of your papers and notes, just buy school supplies here.
    -->Yes, these are just minor things, but I know some of you wanted to stock up on folders and things as I did (they are collecting dust now). Pens are okay to bring, they don't write backwards here. :D
    3) If you plan to buy a laptop, don't do it here, electronics are very expensive. Bring it with you. I bought one and brought it, and customs did not ask me a word about it. (No import tax)
    4) If you have time and want to review other things, Biochemistry is good since it is covered pretty heavily in the HH block, and never again. Look over the stuff in First Aid as a review. My text of choice for that part of the course was "Biochemistry" by Champe & Harvey. Or BRS is also ok. Just don't buy the recommended text unless someone is selling it at a heavily reduced price. I got no use out of it. But heyy, it does make my bookshelf look nice. :)
    5) Also, get "Pharmacology" by Mycek, Harvey & Champe. You won't get much Pharm here and that book will help with HH and IMD.
    6) If you are weak on your Immunology, I recommend Lange's "Microbiology & Immunology" by Levinson & Jawetz. It is important and covered in IMD.
    By the way, you can purchase all of these textbooks here, prices are better than U.S, for the most part, except for the book I mentioned above.
    7) The Merck Manual is a very good reference book to have, and I always refer to it.
    8) I also have Harrison?s Principles of Internal Medicine on CD Rom and will give a copy to anyone who needs it. Just supply me with the blank CD once you get here. And other medical stuff on CD. We can trade if you have anything. But if you don't I will still help anyone out. We are all in this together here.

    If there is anything else you all need please let me know. I am sorry for coming across as so negative, but I needed to vent, and thanks to you all for being there to listen. There are lots of benefits to being here as I said before.

    Take care all. or as treesap said "Good on You" . That means "Right on" in ozzie'ese
    :D
     
  18. The Pill Counter

    The Pill Counter Senior Member
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    don't worry, come up to Brisbane next July for AMSA week and we'll show you South Australians how to relax.

    p.s. Mosby's Crash Course series is much better than the Made Ridiculously Simple series.
     
  19. vegemitosis

    vegemitosis Junior Member
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    Yes, exactly what Crepitus said.

    It was the vegemite talking. If anyone needs clarification just e-mail me.:cool:
     
  20. dr_pa_priya

    dr_pa_priya Priya

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    Hi Vegemetosis,
    My name is Priya.I am a dentist(BDS) in INDIA.I wish to migrate to Autralia.Can u please help me regarding dentistry there and how many years of futher studies will be required before i can start practising there?I know that Indian degree is not recognised there.I have also received suggestions from people here that I should change my line from dentistry to nursing and then it would be easy getting there,do u think so?I don't mind changing my line if the process of getting a PR later and the prospects of job are better with nursing qualification.
     

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