Robyn Harris, 28, from Oxford, graduated with a BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy from QMU in 2012.

Why did you choose to study occupational therapy at QMU and in Edinburgh/Scotland?

“I liked the fact that QMU was a campus University and everything was close by. I also liked the idea of living by the sea, as Oxford is very far from the seaside!

“I chose BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy as my degree because I’m passionate about making a difference to people’s lives and helping them to live as independently as possible. The knowledge that QMU offered the chance to study abroad as part of the course, was also a huge draw. “I had family in Scotland and had spent most childhood holidays on the Argyll Peninsula on the west coast of Scotland and wanted to discover what the east coast had to offer. I knew Edinburgh would have so much to offer, including culture, seaside, history, great food and friendly people.

“I think the best times I had in Edinburgh often featured around the Christmas lights switch on and enjoying the Christmas markets in Princes Street Gardens and George Street. The atmosphere is so festive and fun. The lights make Edinburgh so sparkly and even more beautiful. The charity shops in Stockbridge and Morningside provide some great high-end bargains too!”

Where did you live while studying?

“I lived in student accommodation on campus in my first year and then in privately rented accommodation for the remaining three years. The best part of student accommodation on campus was the proximity to resources and being able to visit friends easily.

Did you attend a QMU Open Day before deciding to study at the University?

“Yes I did attend an Open Day. It was very helpful to be able to see the campus beforehand, as well as meeting lecturers on the course who were very friendly and helpful. The combination of both of these cemented my decision to go to QMU.”

What was the highlight of the course for you?

“Having the opportunity to learn about creative activities and how this can offer therapeutic benefit for clients was brilliant and really well taught. I also really valued the expertise of the lecturing staff team.”

Did you take part in any overseas study experiences or exchanges whilst at QMU?

“I was lucky enough to take part in Erasmus+, which is the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport.

“The experience allowed me to study at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway.

“I’d definitely recommend the programme to others as it is a great way to experience another culture and learn about professional roles, as well as ways of living in another country and culture.

“It helped me to create lasting friendships as I have friends that I’m still in touch with from my time in Norway. It is also a chance to share learning gained from your home University whilst abroad.

“The experience also increased my confidence whilst adapting to changing situations and speaking another language. It’s something I am keen to do again in the future.

“It has also helped me with securing employment and has often been something which prospective employers ask about in interviews, so it seems to something unusual and adds to your employability.  

“The experience gave me the opportunity to learn about Occupational Therapy in another culture and language (although that did pose some challenges too), but I was able to learn that I can think on my feet and my understanding of non-verbal communication skills improved dramatically whilst in Norway!

“Other highlights from time in Norway include the friendly people I met and the variety of experiences I had, including attending Norway’s national day celebrations in May when the whole town dresses up in their national dress - beautiful woollen dresses with gold and silver coins for the ladies and hats, shirts, long shorts with knee high socks for the gentlemen. Lots of music is played by local bands and there is lots of delicious local food available too.

“It is for these reasons I’d highly recommend the Erasmus+ experience to others. I feel very fortunate to have been offered the opportunity to live and study abroad and wish I could do it all again!”

What are your top tips for future BSc (Hons) Occupational therapy students based on your own personal experience?

“Attend a QMU Open Day, meet the lecturers and ask lots of questions of the students on the course as this also helped give a real day-to-day feel to the reality of being a student at QMU.”

What have you been doing since graduating from QMU?

“After graduation, I enjoyed some time off for about three months and then began job hunting.

“I secured a job in a local school in the November of the year I graduated, as occupational therapy jobs were hard to find at the time. I worked in schools based jobs for a further year and then secured my first occupational therapy post in December 2013 in an acute hospital. “Following on from my hospital-based job, I moved to working in a GP surgery in 2015 and then moved to working a Community Occupational Therapist in 2016. I’m still in this role now and I’m really enjoying it.

“My role involves visiting predominantly older adults in their own home, following an accident, injury or as a result of health condition. I work with them to achieve a set of agreed goals to promote their independence and enable them to live fully in their own homes and communities.”

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Story Published 2017 -2018

Occupational Therapy

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