When I was back in Rome, I studied audiology for three years after which I worked as audiologist for seven months with an ENT. This experience, backed by the experience of work placements, made me realise that I was looking for something different from my career.
Although I found audiology to be a very interesting and fascinating science, I recognised that what I was missing was a a wider ongoing relationship with clients and the possibility to support them and their families throughout their rehabilitation.
Consequently, I began researching into speech and language therapy. On the basis of what I could learn from my exposure to speech and language therapist while on placement as an audiologist, who really encouraged my interest, this allied health profession seemed like the perfect choice for me: it was linked to audiology and communication, and it required a caring and imaginative personality.
Thus, after being mesmerised by Edinburgh I decided to study hard to pass my English test to be admitted at QMU - that is the university that offers this course in Edinburgh.
I am happy now to say that I have found in speech and language therapy everything I was looking for on a professional level. It gives me the opportunity to relate to my clients and propose imaginative and dynamic interventions on the basis of their own stories and necessities. Every day in this job makes me feel useful to people and this rewards every effort made to reach this point.
Why did you choose to study in Edinburgh/Scotland?
The first time I came to Edinburgh was six years ago, when I visited my sister who was studying here for a brief period. I immediately fell in love with the city. Not only was it so charming and mysterious, but the people I had the chance to meet made it all the way better with interesting conversations and their stimulating personalities. Edinburgh seemed to me like a melting pot of cultures, knowledge, ideas and entertainment. After that experience, I decided I would work hard to be able to study in Scotland one day and my life changed accordingly.
"My lecturers did a great job in making sure we were all perfectly conscious of the policies and rules that regulate our profession and to which we must respond. They taught us how fundamental is evidence-based practice for speech and language therapy and how to keep ourselves up to date independently."
What did you hope the course would give you?
I hoped the course would give me the opportunity to learn new skills in an area I was very interested in and combine these with my previous knowledge in audiology. I aimed to develop my ability to work closely with clients in a professional, respectful and caring manner. I expected the course to teach me how to be an excellent speech and language therapist, complying to national policies and up to date methods.
How did you find the work load? Could you comment on the support available to you whilst studying?
My course was rather intense. We learn in two years what our undergraduate colleagues cover in four years. Hard work is expected from students but good support is provided by lecturers. It takes a bit of discipline and organisation, however, I believe the work load to be manageable and not too stressful if approached with method.
Are you employed whilst studying? If so, can you comment on how you manage work and study.
In my first year I decided not to work and concentrate on my course only. It was my first experience in a British university and I needed time and concentration to adapt to a system I was not used to. I had to learn new skills necessary to ensure a positive outcome and that required effort and time.
In my second year I started working as support worker. I had a contract as a casual worker which meant that I could ask for shifts only when I decided to give the company my availability. This way I could stop working at the times the course was demanding and work more in less stressful periods. This job was also constructive because it exposed me to people with communication difficulties, therefore it provided me with useful professional experience and an strength point for my CV.
Can you give an outline as to why you received a bursary?
(Monia won the Carol Spragge Bursary available to Speech and Language Therapy students).
I prepared a research proposal following the guidelines provided and my funder's topic of interest that was then chosen amongst others.
How is your bursary helping you with your studies?
The bursary will cover the cost of my dissertation thesis and the material I will use.
How do you think your QMU degree has equipped you with the skills/knowledge to develop your career?
My lecturers did a great job in making sure we were all perfectly conscious of the policies and rules that regulate our profession and to which we must respond. They taught us how fundamental is evidence-based practice for speech and language therapy and how to keep ourselves up to date independently.
What advice would you give prospective PG students?
Work hard especially when on placement. It gives you the privilege of practising for the profession in the 'real word', to make mistakes and learn from them with the support of professionals who might become your colleagues one day.
Life after Graduation
What are your future plans once you have completed the course?
I have just got a part-time job with the NHS as a Speech and Language Therapist. Therefore, I will work and write my dissertation at the same time. I hope that in the future I will have the chance to combine my two degrees and become a specialised SLT and work with deaf clients or in a cochlear implants department.
Story published 2016-2017