Trent Schmidt, 26, from Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, is studying MSc Physiotherapy (Pre-Registration) full-time at QMU.
Before arriving at QMU, Trent studied at Red Deer College (RDC) in Canada for three years as a student-athlete, being a member of the RDC Kings Volleyball team. He transferred to the University of Alberta in Edmonton, where he completed his undergraduate degree in Kinesiology (the scientific study of human or non-human body movement).
After graduating, Trent worked for a year at a Return to Work Services clinic for CBI (formerly Canadian Back Institute) Health. He specialised in assessments of the injured worker’s functional capacity in clinic and on-site work assessments of their job demands.
Trent is studying at QMU with his new wife, Judy Stang, who is on the MSc Occupational Therapy (Pre-Registration) programme. They are the first Canadian married couple to study together at QMU. Trent and Judy were married on 8 July 2017 in Macklin, Saskatchewan, Canada. The couple met over seven years ago at Red Deer College in Alberta, Canada, during the first days of their Kinesiology degrees.
Why did you choose to study in Edinburgh/Scotland?
“My wife and I share the passion for travelling and experiencing new cultures, and we knew that we both wanted to pursue further education.
"At this point in our lives (not having a mortgage or kids yet), we knew studying abroad was feasible. In addition, a friend of ours from Canada began studying at QMU last year and gave us helpful insight into the wondrous experience of living in Edinburgh.”
How did you come to choose this course and why QMU?
“I’ve always been extremely interested in learning about the human body, specifically in its movement. Physiotherapy as a profession was therefore always intriguing to me because it’s all about studying the body and applying that knowledge to help people.
“My experience at CBI, as well as shadowing a physiotherapist in my undergraduate practicum placement, were the two key identifiers in motivating me to become a physio myself.
“As for choosing QMU, its programme has been well known for its practical-based learning philosophy, and this enticed my wife and I to pursue our postgraduate studies here.
“Obtaining an MSc in Physiotherapy was always a goal of mine since beginning my studies in Kinesiology at undergraduate level. I knew that being a Kinesiologist wasn’t my long-term career and Physiotherapy would enable me to professionally progress into a more stable position. As well as academic growth, being able to do study abroad will provide me with personal growth too.”
How are you finding the workload? Do you feel supported?
“So far, the workload is quite intense and very independent-focused, but I believe these qualities of the programme will be very transferable to physiotherapy practice. Physiotherapists can have a large caseload with many deadlines, and with the vastness of knowledge needed they will have to be very autonomously resourceful as well.
“The QMU staff are very willing to listen, accept feedback and provide additional support to students since they know the program can be quite hectic.”
Trent received a QMU International scholarship worth £3000 and Judy received a Saltire Scholarship worth £4000. These scholarships offer a discount on tuition fees for the first year, and the Saltire scholarship in particular is match funded by the Scottish Government.
As a newly married couple both starting two-year Pre-Registration courses, QMU recognised the financial pressure that this would place on the students. Trent and Judy’s personal circumstances and enthusiasm for their future studies at QMU really impressed the scholarship panel, so they were both chosen for scholarship awards.
How do you think your QMU degree will equip you with the skills/knowledge to develop your career?
“QMU’s focus on independent studies and practical based learning provide me with the hands-on confidence and resourcefulness that are imperative to be a successful physiotherapist. With friendly and supportive class sizes and familiarity of staff at QMU, communication skills are strongly facilitated, which is a necessity for this career.”
What top tips would you give prospective postgraduate students based on your own personal experience?
“Primarily for international students - Don’t forget where you are! University can be overwhelming and consuming at times, but always remember that you’re living abroad in an awesome city and you’ve already gone through more experience than others that went to universities back home.
“Remember to find time to enjoy that! As well, if you can, get here a week or two prior to the start of the academic term and get all the extra ‘to-do’ items done. That too can be a bit of a gruelling process so get it done as quick as you can before your university workload picks up.”
What are your plans after graduating from QMU?
“I have a long way to go to decide what specific area of physiotherapy I want to pursue and I hope to figure that out throughout my placements!
I’m currently interested in musculoskeletal, sports rehabilitation and performance, neurological rehabilitation, rehabilitation technologies, and particularly teaching. I have a great passion for teaching anatomy and I definitely see myself becoming a lecturer at a college or university back home in Canada.
“Judy and I plan to work here in the UK or elsewhere abroad (perhaps New Zealand or Australia) for a year or so to gain further cultural and professional experience before heading back to Canada to settle down a bit more. With both our professions there are many opportunities to volunteer overseas and we hope to be able to continue our work and travels for many years!”
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