Why did you choose to study physiotherapy?
Firstly, I am a sporty person, whether it is outdoor or indoor, sports that I know how to play or sports I have never played, I just love doing sports.
I took an interest in physiotherapy when one of my family members was walking with pain in their knee and back, it got so bad that they could barely do anything. I witnessed how magically some physio techniques can change a person’s quality of life. Becoming a physiotherapist to me means I could enable people to improve their quality of life, health and both physical and mental wellbeing.
Why did you choose England and why Huddersfield?
I chose England is because I love western culture, I have since I was a child and always wanted to understand more and be part of it. I looked at England, the USA and Australia, however, I picked Huddersfield, England because I liked the physiotherapy course they offer, the look of the town and the University campus. I also have some friends studying in Manchester and Leeds, which is very close to Huddersfield, so much easier for me to visit compared to other places.
How did you apply and what was the application process like?
I used MABECS Malaysia, a local UK universities placement agency based in Malaysia, they helped me shortlist the universities that offer Physiotherapy courses. They are experienced and the whole process was smooth. I would still recommend speaking to the University of Huddersfield Regional Office first as they can help you with your application and offer advice, they are also alumni from the University of Huddersfield.
What were/are your favourite things to do at university when not studying?
I really love the location of Huddersfield as it’s in the middle of the UK, and with good local transportation services. It is quick, easy and cheap to travel around the UK.
Speaking of cost, the cost of living is also relatively low compared to other main cities in the UK, and this makes Huddersfield an ideal place to live and study for international students.
Huddersfield is a small place, but it is not a boring place, whenever there is a university event going on, the street is always full of students and I really like the vibe and atmosphere, I attended lots of different events. I really enjoy the social aspect of being a student at the University of Huddersfield.
A big city is not always good, I enjoy hanging out with friends, imagine whenever you want to hang out with your friends but everyone is living far apart from each other and you have to travel for half an hour to meet up, this is not the case in Huddersfield. In Huddersfield, you could easily bump into your friends, and everything is close and easy to access. It saved me a lot of time and makes student life so much easier.
Did your physiotherapy course meet your expectations?
The course is surpassing my expectations. All the teaching staff regularly approach international students like me to check if I can keep up with the course. They are very helpful, they would even rearrange an extra session for us if we needed it to help us to consolidate the things that we are not sure about.
Also, because of the global pandemic, many students were recently facing all kinds of issues. I was one of them and as an international student, I have to pay close attention to the policy which was changing very frequently during the peak of the pandemic. All the teaching staff were excellent at providing full support to help us get through. At the same time the staff adapted well with the change from practical sessions to online teaching. I appreciate what they did, as they have put in so much effort and time to ensure we have better student life.
What was a regular week like for you at uni?
For me, the only fixed routine during weekdays is basketball training on Monday night and a basketball game on Wednesday afternoon. Other than that, I go to the gym after the last lecture of the day or in the morning if I have no classes that day.
I spend around two to three hours ‘pre-reading’ as it is essential for a physiotherapy student. Sometimes, I go to the library, which is a place where I can focus more. When I need to do some research, the library is the best place as it is well stocked with extra resources.
Overall, I try to break things down and be well prepared so I’m not overwhelmed by the workload at the last minute.
During weekends, I always spend time with my friends, sometimes we explore Huddersfield and sometimes we go to nearby cities like Leeds or Manchester. When we meet up we usually grab some lunch/dinner and chill in a nice cafe, sometimes we go to the cinema to watch a movie, we also like to have a party some weekends.
My advice is before uni’s workload starts to accumulate, spare yourself some time to explore a new city that you have never been to before, you are here to discover and experience life.
Did you work part-time while at uni?
I did a placement in my first year. I was working at an elderly medical step down unit in Dewsbury district hospital (which is about 8-10 mins on the train from Huddersfield) and I learnt a lot. It was my first year, so at first, I wasn’t expected to participate a lot, but my placement educator guided me throughout my placement.
I have learnt many important practices such as how to set a treatment goal, how to make a discharge plan, things to consider when treating elders etc. Every colleague that I met and worked with were so friendly and are willing to teach me, and I do believe I would carry what I learnt from my placement to my future career.
Did you join any university societies?
Without any doubt, the Malaysian student society here is like my second home, I remember I approached their social media when I first got here, a couple of my Malaysian seniors came to greet me and gave me a tour around the town and the university campus.
Throughout the academic year, the university always give us an opportunity to participate in all kinds of events. I strongly recommend Malaysian freshers to join the society, you will meet lots of friends, do social activities and it is a great place to raise any concerns you might have.
In the basketball society, we play a match every Wednesday, usually against a different university then in the evening we have a night out to celebrate after the game (Wednesday night is ‘student night’ where u can get drinks at a lower price).
Kiwi’s 5 top tips for future students from Malaysia
Tip one – Get prepared before departure
I personally think it’s important to be prepared to deal with the changes that are involved with living in a different country, such as:
Meeting different people – British people are helpful and friendly and usually want to speak to people from different countries too.
Adapting to a new culture – You may need time to get used to the different cultures in the UK. Learn the language and Yorkshire dialect – Make time to make sure you can speak good English, there are many different accents around the UK too.
Prepare for the weather – When you first arrive from Malaysia it may take you some time to get used to the British weather. It’s much colder than Malaysia.
Try different food – There are many international shops and restaurants in Huddersfield but I recommend getting used to British food too.
If you want to study abroad, you have to be independent in many ways, everyone has been through the same thing but I believe slowly you will also notice you are enjoying the changes.
Tip two – Immerse yourself in the culture
I am assuming you are studying abroad not just for a good education, but also for the experiences of living in a new environment, right? Prioritise your university work, but at the same time, make the most of your time by learning the culture Don’t be afraid to approach different people, try to adapt and accept new things!
Tip three – Don’t be afraid to ask for help
There might be times when you feel negative energy or encounter difficult obstacles during your studies. Sometimes we can’t avoid things that are out of our hands (such as a global pandemic), but what you can do is ask for help. Reach out to your society or our student union, speak to any student support services like the international office or the university wellbeing services. It is important to have fun here but also at the same time do not ignore your wellbeing.
Tip four – Join a society
I’ve made great friends and I have some fantastic memories from the societies I’ve been involved in. There are lots of opportunities at Huddersfield, I play Basketball but there are lots of different sports societies including football, badminton, tennis etc. There are also lots of academic societies and over 60 global societies.
Tip five – Have fun!