A UQ Physiotherapy student chats with OzTREKK
It takes a certain kind of person to dream of studying physiotherapy: compassionate, gentle, patient…. It also takes a certain kind of person to want to study physiotherapy in a really cool place, like Australia.
OzTREKK student Kiersten McMaster falls under the latter category. Instead of considering Canadian universities to pursue her dreams, Kiersten decided to break the mold and follow her dream—all the way Down Under!
Why did you want to become a physiotherapist?
I have always wanted to be a physiotherapist, funny enough. I’ve been to a physio several times and I always thought their job looked interesting and fun! I enjoy helping people and I wasn’t interested in working at a desk all day. I also really liked the idea of being able to work in a multitude of different areas (paediatrics, sports, hospital, private clinic) as well as in different countries!
Why did you choose UQ?
I chose the University of Queensland because it seemed like a fantastic program! I also loved the idea of being in Australia but specifically Brisbane (the city is beautiful). Another big reason why I decided to choose UQ was their start date. I graduated from my undergrad in June and I wanted to my Master’s right away but I knew that I also needed a bit of break. The November start date was appealing for me because it gave me five months to get organized and save up some money as well as have a break from school.
UQ has so many different clubs, organizations, sports, and groups so there’s definitely something for everyone!
What’s your program like? Give us an idea of how your day goes.
The physiotherapy program is very demanding but I love every minute of it. My typical day is filled with lecture classes as well as practicum classes. I usually head into school around 8 a.m. and study for a few hours before class and then I have lectures and practical classes until about 3 p.m. The workload is manageable, but you need to ensure that you are staying on top of the material!
What are your likes and dislikes about the program?
I really enjoy the information that we are learning and I love being in practicum classes where I can apply what I learned in lecture. I also find the faculty to be really kind and helpful. It’s also great to be around a group of people who are all striving for the same goal, and it’s nice to not be in a competitive environment—we all help each other! There isn’t much I dislike about the program, but the pace is very fast, so you have to keep on top of your work! There’s no room for slacking!
What’s the most surprising thing about your time in Australia?
The most surprising thing about studying in Australia so far is how much I’ve been able to see and do within the last six months! And that is mostly because of the wonderful people I have met.
So far I have been able to do some traveling to the Whitsundays, Airlie Beach, Whitehaven, Byron Bay, Surfer’s Paradise, Tangalooma shipwrecks as well as some other beaches! I’ve also been able to visit some sanctuaries and cuddle with koalas and kangaroos (I’m a big animal lover)! I promise that I do studying and go to school, but you have to take advantage of the beautiful weather!
Do you have any tips for students thinking of studying physiotherapy at UQ?
Get to know people who aren’t just in your program, especially the second year GEMS*! It’s nice to be able to talk to them about their experiences and they have some really helpful hints about classes!
Physiotherapy techniques take a lot of practice and it’s nice to be able to practice in the evenings (though rooms are available at school during office hours). I decided to purchase a secondhand massage bed so I can practice on my roommate and friends after classes and on the weekends. It’s really helpful, plus they really enjoy it, too!
It’s also great to be around a group of people who are all striving for the same goal, and it’s nice to not be in a competitive environment—we all help each other!”
Studying physiotherapy can be very demanding and can very easily consume your life. I think it’s important to have a good balance between leisure time and study time, so I would recommend finding something you can do a few hours a week for fun. For me that’s yoga! But UQ has so many different clubs, organizations, sports, and groups so there’s definitely something for everyone!
How was it to find accommodation? Do you have any tips for future students?
Finding accommodation was stressful—I won’t lie. But I think it’s good to look before you get here so you have an idea of the different areas as well as price range. UQ has some great resources on their website and I watched a lot of their videos before coming.
Also, it’s good to find some other international students and find a place together. It’s nice to be around people who are going through the same things you are.
If you can find some temporary location for a few weeks when you first get here that’s a really good idea, then you don’t have to rush into anything when you first arrive! It’s nice to be able to see the place in person before you sign anything. Also, don’t forget to check if there are any bus routes close and how long it will take you to get to school (walking, busing or biking)!
*What is GEMS?
The UQ School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences offers Graduate Entry Masters (GEMS) programs in Audiology, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Speech Pathology. These accelerated programs aim to equip graduate entry students with the theoretical knowledge, skills and professional attributes necessary for a career in one of these health professions.
UQ Physiotherapy School’s Master of Physiotherapy Studies
The University of Queensland Physiotherapy School offers a learning environment and has assessment requirements designed to facilitate the advanced and intensive learning appropriate for a master’s-level program. The Master of Physiotherapy Studies introduces graduates to the profession of physiotherapy and its key concepts in intensive mode during an initial summer semester. It focuses on developing core knowledge and skills in the areas of musculoskeletal, neurological, cardiorespiratory and physiotherapy across the lifespan, and integrates this knowledge and skill and application of clinical reasoning in supervised clinical practice. The program also incorporates advanced training in clinical reasoning, independent research, and health management.
Program: Master of Physiotherapy Studies
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intake: November
Program duration: 2 years