Judy Stang, 25, from Provost, Alberta, Canada, is studying MSc Occupational Therapy (Pre-Registration) full-time at QMU.
Before arriving at QMU, Judy had already completed a BSc in Kinesiology (human movement) at the University of Alberta in Canada. She had also been working within a multidisciplinary group and with people who have long-term disabilities, where she created fitness programmes to help people return to work.
Judy is studying at QMU with her new husband, Trent Schmidt, who is on the MSc Physiotherapy (Pre-Registration) programme. They are the first Canadian married couple to study together at QMU. Judy and Trent 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?
“Travelling has always been important to me. I’ve been fortunate to be able to travel to many countries on five continents, but prior to coming here, this was my first time in Scotland. My husband and I travelled to Scotland together and we’re both able to complete our postgraduate studies at QMU. We both liked the idea of living in a new country and studying abroad.”
How did you come to choose this course and why QMU?
“My previous experiences really directed me towards choosing a course studying occupational therapy. I’ve been a team lead for a summer camp for children with disabilities, a teacher’s assistant for a young girl with a disability and as a Kinesiologist working with people with long-term disabilities. I truly believe that limitations of a limb, joint, mind or other barrier can be turned into possibilities.
“One of my friends who is in her second year at QMU was instrumental in helping me decide to apply to QMU, as well as deciding to choose this University to complete our postgraduate courses. Her experience with QMU and support made the decision quite easy to make.
“The International team at QMU was also a big reason why we came over to Scotland as someone personally came to meet my family and husband.”
How are you finding the workload? Do you feel supported?
“Classmates can be the biggest support whilst studying. They make it more enjoyable and the discussions lead to greater understanding of the learning material.
“The International team at QMU were a huge support before we moved over to Scotland and QMU. We also have a Personal Academic Tutor (PAT), Learning resource Centre (LRC) and also Effective Learning Services (ELS).”
Judy received a Saltire Scholarship worth £4000 and Trent received a QMU International scholarship worth £3000. 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. Judy and Trent’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?
“So far, the problem based learning approach provides a learning environment similar to that within practice. We have to research, critically think and contribute to discussions, which are all aspects that prepare us for a career beyond university.”
What top tips would you give prospective postgraduate students based on your own personal experience?
“Even if things don’t seem to be going as planned, remember, everything will be alright. If we are never challenged and everything ran smoothly, life would get boring. You’ll look back on times like these and feel proud of what you have done!”
What are your plans after graduating from QMU?
“After completing the programme, I see myself working within the UK before I go home to write the national exam. After completing the exam, I will pursue employment as an occupational therapist.”
"The International team at QMU was also a big reason why we came over to Scotland as someone personally came to meet my family and husband."
[Story published in 2018]