“I’ll just do my course fully in Malaysia. I don’t want to be too far away from home.” These were the thoughts that went through my mind when I started studying Chiropractic at IMU in 2014. I was happily studying in IMU, with great friends. I remember telling myself that I would not leave Malaysia, but 2 years later, I find myself, alongside four other classmates, on a 17-hour flight to Cardiff, UK. Before starting my chapter in University of South Wales (USW), UK, there were lots of uncertainties as we were the first batch coming to this university. However, we were con-nected to the International Student Services, USW, before coming over, which helped us clear some of our queries and concerns. Upon reaching Cardiff airport, we were picked up by the university bus to our accommodation, a free service that was provided by the University. Sitting in the bus heading to our campus was a surreal experience. When we arrived at the USW Treforest campus, I told myself, “This is it. This is where I’ll be for the next 2 years. And this is going to be the place I graduate.
|Some information about USW credit transfer programme|
|Just a little information about University of South Wales. It is located in Wales, UK and Masters of Chiropractic is conducted in its Glyntaff campus, which is about a 25-minute train ride away from the capital city of Wales, Cardiff. The IMU – USW credit transfer programme is a 2+2 which means that after studying the course for 2 years at IMU in Malaysia, we transfer to USW and complete another 2 years in the UK. We entered into Year 3 when we first came into USW.|
The start of our new chapter I clearly remember it was 9 September 2016 that we landed in Cardiff. We all stayed in the student accommodation for the first year of our time here which was a great experience. The accommodation services were efficient in dealing with whatever that went wrong, with a 24/7 service, and the team had all lovely people. We arrived 2 weeks before classes started for the international student orientation and a chiropractic course orientation. The international student orientation was a unique expe-rience in learning about the culture of Wales. We got to experience the traditional dance, traditional food, learn a bit of Welsh language (It is difficult!), and get to talk to different people, doing different courses, from different countries.
Few days before classes started, a lecturer from the chiropractic course asked to meet up with us. The moment she stepped into the room, she asked us all to do 15 push-ups. All of us looked at each other, shocked and super puzzled, but did it anyway. At this point, only a minute into meeting the first tutor, I asked myself, what did I get myself into. The session went on with many more shocking and puzzling moments. It was also during this session, that we all realised that tutors here uses different approach in teaching.
Year 3 was definitely not the easiest year as we needed to get used to the different education system. Every practical session brought great stress to me but I am really glad to have had great classmates and lecturers who helped us out. Our classmates would try their best to answer our uncertainties. The main lesson I learnt during this time was never to be afraid to ask questions. My classmates and lecturers would not know what I did not know, if I did not ask them. The tutors constantly made sure we are catching up well. They did not only focus on the academic side, but they also made sure we did not put too much stress on ourselves, that we would give ourselves some rest as well. They constantly encouraged us and reminded us how far we’ve come. I will never forget the moment the five of us received our Year 3 results and knew that all of us had successfully entered into Year 4. We had probably woke up our neighbours from the amount of shouting we did. Life as a final year student Year 4 is clinical year which means we get to see actual patients. Even after entering into Year 4, the tutor still asked us about our well-being, and still made sure we do not push ourselves too hard. A significant difference I noticed about people in the UK compared to people in Malaysia is their awareness about chiropractic. Most people in UK would know about chiropractic and our job scope which helps us to see different conditions, and not just focusing on the spine. We had the opportunity to attend various conference hosted by British Chiropractic Asso-ciation and meet chiropractors all over Britain. There are also various technique seminars that are held over the weekends in England. Besides that, we also had the opportunity to go for a one-week hospital placement in the orthopaedics ward of a public hospital. We get to see joint replacements, arthroscopy, and many more. Malaysia vs UK There are many differences between Malaysia and U.K., but the main ones are:
|I MISS MALAYSIA FOOD! I never knew how much I took the variety of Malaysia food for granted until I came here.|
|UK weather, especially in Wales, is really unpredictable. You could have bright sun, rain, snow, and pouring rain, all in an hour. We were actually quite lucky to be able to witness thick snow in Wales in March 2018. The snow was probably 10 inches thick, which hadn’t occurred in many years. I got to make a snow angel, play snow fight and just enjoy the snow. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience.|
|I noticed the lecturers here would always prompt you to think instead of giving you the answer. They also encourage a lot of self-directed learning. I find it challenges me to solve problems by myself, not just problems regarding course work but also life in general.|
|You get to travel around Europe! Europe is a very beautiful place. We tried to make the most out of being in the UK and traveled when we could. Plus, you wouldn’t want to pay RM3000 and sit on a 15-hour flight when you can pay RM300 and sit on a 2-hour flight right? At least that’s what I told myself.|
While writing this, I am currently waiting for my final year examination results to be re-leased. Throughout this two years, there were ups and downs but I do not regret coming to USW. It is a great experience and would definitely recommend students to come over. A special shout-out to the 4 other IMU students that came here with me. I could not imag-ine my USW life without you guys! Written by Kaylee Gan Ju Tshin