2 Apr 2018 My Experience as a Chiropractic Student at an Australian University
‘When opportunity knocks on your door, grab it ‘
It all starts somewhere. For me it was the year 2016. As clearly as I could remember, 2016 was a year that involved multiple life decisions and challenges. It all started with my journey enrolling into IMU chiropractic programme in the year 2014. Throughout the years, I made a lot of friends and as semester studies progressed , I heard about the opportunity of credit transfer and many stories from my seniors about their experiences, lifestyle and knowledge . It inspired me to try for it and I decided to go with the option of credit transfer to the partner university in Melbourne, Australia – RMIT University.
“My study journey in IMU was an interesting one. At first, I was petrified because I had the preconception that university life is hard. But somehow over the time,I managed to transcend into the environment smoothly. All the lecturers were helpful and gave me proper insights of my studies. They were approachable and did not mind guiding me even after office hours.”
“To be precise, my first impression about universities was that they were meant only for studying. However, IMU had a whole different perspective where the university provided a platform for meeting people, making friends and discovering new interests. This can be seen through the extra co-curriculum activities where I was exposed to at events like World Spine Day and Chiro Week. During these events, I developed my interests on educating people about Chiropractic and at the same time improve my leadership skills. Also,I was introduced into a mentorship programme. In this programme, each student was assigned to a mentor. I had an enthusiastic mentor who guided me through my studies and always encouraged me to excel further in my studies.”
Fast-forward, it was the time for me to do the credit transfer to the partner university. It was the most daunting period, as it was my first time away from my parents, also away from my beloved country and yet I was in process of completing my second year with IMU. I was under tremendous pressure at that time, considering that there were a lot of tasks that need to be done (credit transfer, visa application, sorting out accommodation and paying the tuition fees). However, it was the great to have support from IMU staff who enabled me to overcome these obstacles and made my journey to RMIT – stress free.
FIRST ARRIVAL IN MELBOURNE AND MY VERY FIRST DAY AS RMIT STUDENT
I could vividly remember the date I left for Melbourne, it was 16 February 2016 where I had the best sent-off at the airport by a couple of close friends and members of my family. The first thing that I felt upon touching down at the airport is the coldness which rushed onto my body. It was freezing cold and the weather was overwhelming since it was my first time in the Land Down Under. Upon arrival, I got myself checked into the student accommodation and the entire journey was smooth sailing.
After settling in my accommodation and all the necessary applications, I attended all the necessary induction and orientation tours. I was fascinated with the atmosphere where I observed the diversity of people that was present there. There were students from all over the world (Peru,Mexico and USA) and it was the English language that got us communicating with each other. At first, it was difficult to understand and comprehend on how the locals speak but over the period and with the friendliness in Melbourne, I manage to transcend into the atmosphere and understood the local culture more.
Along the way of my studies, I manage to experience the humbleness of people in Melbourne and understand the aboriginal culture and practices. Further to that, life in university seems to be different compared to Malaysia. The learning style is more independent, where the university encourages their students to learn and educate themselves through self-guided studies. Also, the university has support groups that are accessible for students. In fact, I accessed one of the support groups recently to improve on my writing skills. They did the proof-reading and checked on my grammar since I had a high number of reports and clinical reviews to write.
Another matter that captivates me was the good work-life balance my Australian classmates have . Most of them were working and studying full-time and the university supports this. Also, I believe the university was trying to advocate to us (new overseas students), that the university is not only for studying. It is more than that, they encourage overseas students to take advantage of the vast extra curriculum activities that were available. I conjecture that the partner university was trying to foster the student to multi task and develop their full potential towards their respective career.
FOUR SEASONS WEATHER
Growing up in Malaysia and experiencing the tropical weather was a norm to me. However, Melbourne was a different ball game altogether. We have four seasons; Summer (Dec-Feb), Autumn (March to May), Winter (June-August) and Spring (September-November). And there is something else, Melbourne is known to have a bewilder weather in which sometime you will also experience 4 seasons in a day and it is not constant . One day, you will be waking up in hot weather, and then 3 hours later , you will feel the coldness like in winter and 2 hours later it rains . With this type of uncertainty, even the local weatherman does not get accurate weather forecast . Perhaps, Melbourne is trying to get me to expect the unexpected and be prepared all the time.
On another note , I also love the nature and I embrace all the winds and breezes . It gives me a sense of calmness. The nature around here is so beautiful which is so captivating and gives amazing vibes.
After coming abroad, I learnt the importance of being independent. From groceries to laundry, it was on your own. Being brought up in an environment, where most things were supplied and having family members around, this was something difficult for me. However, I managed to adapt and learnt things in different perspectives. This is because you tend to learn and understand things in life when you are out of your comfort zone. Eventually, you evolve into an independent and strong will person which I believe this is essential tool in life.
2 YEARS ON
It has been two years now since I came to Melbourne and I would say I love studying here. Over the years, I have improved on my communication skills and my competency in English.
A small reflection on myself . In the beginning , I was a shy and quiet person, and now I have empowered myself and learnt to be independent . From this, I could understand that in life there is no end for learning , you will always keep on experiencing and enriching yourself with knowledge for self-improvement in life.
Written by: Subasheinni Maheswaran