Hometown: Potenza (Italy)

About you

How did you come to choose the course and why QMU?

I chose Queen Margaret University (QMU) because I was aware that there was an excellent Occupational Therapy (OT) Department and a long OT educational history.

Why di you choose to study in Edinburgh/Scotland?

I came to Edinburgh from Italy 11 years ago to complete a work-study experience.

I soon learned that being away from home enabled me to gain new perspectives about who I was and what I wanted to do in my life. After six months learning a new language in a new culturally different environment, I had the fortune to discover my vocation and passion for serving other people. Around that time, I started to work as a support worker (carer). My role consisted of providing practical and emotional support to people with disabilities in all aspects of their lives. Right from the first day at work I realised that it was indeed more than just a job for me, it was who I was. More importantly, it enabled me to express my most authentic self. This realisation led me to explore a career in Occupational Therapy at Queen Margaret University.

Living Away from Home

Life in Edinburgh – what was the best experience you had in Edinburgh? Are there any hidden ‘gems’ you’d like to share?

Edinburgh is a wonderful culturally vibrant city. It offers a wide range of opportunities for pursuing your personal interests and hobbies. Being a relatively small city, it means that everything is on your doorstep. Hence, you can easily enjoy all the historical and cultural landmarks that Edinburgh has to offer. This includes its very lively night life, where you can experience the fun and friendly atmosphere in the numerous pubs and night clubs.

Looking back, I can say that my student life in Edinburgh was simply extraordinary. I found it very easy to fully immerse myself in the Scottish culture and way of life. As a result, I developed many friends from all over the world, and found the perfect balance between personal development and leisure.

In addition, not far from Edinburgh, there are extraordinary natural landscapes where you can engage in many outdoor activities or simply appreciate the stillness and the beauty of the numerous mountains, lakes, rivers and coastal trails.

I have lots of affection for Edinburgh and its people - it has now become my second home.

The Course

What was the most interesting part of the course? Either something you learned or a particular activity.

The most interesting part of my course was the excellent combination of theory and practice. There is a diversity of professional practice placements available to students. I had the opportunity to complete placements in mental health, care of the elderly, social work and palliative care in different parts of Scotland.

These experiences have equipped me with a wide range of skills, and enabled me to develop the ability to work in different multi-professional and cultural contexts.

Moreover, there are also a range of opportunities available to students who wish to broaden their horizons and complete study experiences abroad. This includes Erasmus Exchange projects, and a variety of scholarships available to support international endeavours.

Finally, I have really appreciated all the support received from all my lecturers and my fellow students. Undoubtedly, they have played a very important part in my personal and professional development.

Any advice for students who might be interested in this course?

If you recognise yourself in any of these qualities, have no doubts or fears, this will be the right course/career for you.

you are someone who is driven by a strong desire to enable others reaching their full potential in every aspect of life;

  • you are someone who is concerned about other people’s health and wellbeing;
  • you are creative, caring, loving, empathetic, fun and dedicated;
  • you have a strong sense of social justice and believe in social equality and equity.

After Graduation

Tell us what happened immediately after you graduated

After I graduated, I felt I needed a break. I took a few months off to travel and to think about my next professional endeavour. On my return to Edinburgh I found out that there was a research administrator position available at QMU. Given the high degree of congruence between my personal and professional interests, and the research focus of QMU, I decided to apply for the job. I then had the privilege to be offered the position.

Are you currently working? If so please give a brief outline of your job. If not, what are your plans?

For the last three years I have been working as a research administrator within the Firefly Research Team (School of Health Sciences) at Queen Margaret University.  The research team generates high quality research evidence for, and with, healthcare practice within international partnerships. My primary responsibility has been to support research related to people with complex mental health needs. This has included collaboration with researchers at the University of Illinois, Chicago, USA which designed and then established psychometric properties for an assessment tool to measure environmental factors which facilitate participation in everyday activities. I am also completing an MSc Health and Social Sciences, as I hope to further develop my abilities to generate knowledge in health and social care, along with bridging the gap between research and practice.

 

Story published 2016-2017