What motivated you to pursue postgraduate study?
During my undergraduate degree in Psychology, I wanted to explore a career path that was both close to my interest in language sciences and meaningful.
I discovered the field of Speech and Language Therapy (SLT), and after some experience with people with communication difficulties, I decided to pursue a postgraduate course to become a speech and language therapist.
What were you doing before applying for a postgraduate degree?
I was completing my undergraduate degree in Psychology and was also working part-time in a learning centre helping clients – mostly children – achieve their potential in reading and comprehension.
Were there any challenges affecting your decision to study a postgraduate degree? If so, how did you overcome them?
At first, I was discouraged to apply for the course, as I was not sure if I would be competent enough to get on to the course. I did not have a lot of experience working with people who access Speech and Language Therapy.
However, after chatting with some speech and language therapists, doing more research and gaining some volunteering experience, I understood the requirements and the career more, overcame my fear and applied for the course.
Why did you choose City?
I chose City because it offers a world-leading course in Speech and Language Therapy with academic staff who are experts in most areas of the profession. I also like living in the vibrant city of London where City is located.
How are you finding studying in the UK – either in person or remotely?
It’s great - but I received most of my education in the UK so cannot compare with other places.
What does a typical week at university look like for you?
A typical week in Year one (in-person):
- Monday - lectures and tutorials. We had bi-weekly clinical tutorials where we developed clinical skills and discussed clinical placements with our tutor and peers, or Personal and Professional Development Group (PPDG) where we discuss any concerns about our personal life or career. On Mondays I would also meet up with a friend, who works near City, in a coffee shop for lunch.
- Tuesday and Wednesday - placement days. I attended placement from 9am to 5pm on one or both days.
- Thursday - lecture day. This was the longest lecture day from 9am to 4pm, sometimes later. After lectures I would go to activities and socials of K-wave Society where I taught a Korean language class.
- Friday - lecture day, but only for two to four hours. After lectures I would go to the former Student Central (a student union for all Universities of London) to join a street dance class.
A typical week in Year two (remote):
- Monday - ‘spare’ placement day. Mondays were for me to make up any missed placement days, so most of the time it was a day off! So, it was a chance for me to sort out housework and groceries and to catch up with my family who live abroad. Any spare time I would spend on extra reading, baking and cooking.
- Tuesday - lecture and tutorials or PPDG.
- Wednesday and Thursday - lectures. I would have some lectures and time to do reading and to watch the asynchronous videos for the live lectures. I would also spend time working on my research project.
- Friday - placement day. I attended a remote placement (9am-5pm) so was working from home. At the end of the day, I would have a catch-up call with my placement partner to share our progress.
What has been your favourite module or aspect of your course so far?
Clinical placement is my favourite aspect of the course because that is where I get to put theory into practice. I have found that this really helps me with consolidating my knowledge and clinical skills.
It was also very motivating that I could see clients/patients and help them with their communication and swallowing, which can be life-changing.
What knowledge and skills has your course helped you develop?
The course has helped me develop excellent communication skills, critical thinking skills, team working skills and a lot of creativity!
Most importantly, the course has taught me to apply these skills as a therapist to provide client-centred care, for example, to critically appraise evidence-based practice and to plan interesting therapy that suits the individual.
What opportunities and experiences has City offered you so far?
I am a Student Representative, Student Mentor and the President of the K-wave Society. As a Student Representative, I got to represent my cohort by voicing their opinion, aiming to further improve the course.
As a Student Mentor, I share my SLT experience with year one MSc students and provide guidance on study and clinical work whenever possible. As a Society President, I planned social media campaigns and worked with other committee members to promote our Society and communicate with our members.
Overall, these experiences helped me develop leadership and presenting skills. The City Volunteering website has also helped me find a volunteering opportunity with a charity working with adults with learning disabilities, which I thoroughly enjoy and has helped me develop even more as a clinician.
What are your career plans and how has City prepared you for them?
I am planning to practice as a speech and language therapist, and the course has helped me with exploring specialisms via lectures and clinical placement.
As a result, I have developed clinical interests in AAC, adult learning disabilities and neurology, and am very excited to practice as a therapist in one of these areas.
What advice would you give to someone considering a postgraduate degree?
You might think your experience is not enough, but you probably have a lot of skills from previous experience, during your study and/or work, that are transferrable.
Also, try to speak with someone who is working in the field or is on the course of interest to learn more about the profession and their experience. Believe in yourself and go for it if you are passionate about the field!