Physiotherapy Studies: An International Student’s Perspective
“Physiotherapy is a career field which gives you the ability to make a difference in people’s lives, that is why I pursued Physiotherapy as my career choice,” says Wafa Ali Bhatti who is studying BSc Physiotherapy at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LSMU).
Wafa Ali is one of the students from the first batch of Physiotherapy programme taught in English at LSMU, currently completing her first year of studies. The student came to Lithuania (Kaunas) from South Africa and is having the best experience of her life so far!
How did you hear about the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, and what made you choose to apply to LSMU?
I was researching for the best degrees in Physiotherapy in Europe, and that is where I saw LSMU, on some study guiding website.
LSMU is growing at a fast pace, it welcomes students from all over the world. The reason I chose to study here was that it offers to give a lot of practical hours for the Physiotherapy programme. Also, because it had its own hospital. It is a perfect combination for students studying in any health science field, I believe. The degree is recognised worldwide, and LSMU has great accreditation for it’s quality of education.
How did you decide to study Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy is a very under-rated profession, in my opinion; majority of people pursue either Medicine or some other health science field, for example, Pharmacy or Dentistry. It has been my passion to study Physiotherapy and make a difference. It is as important as the medical profession. It can make life-changing impact in people’s lives.
Tell us about your experience while taking online classes.
Online lectures have their pros and cons. Pros for me would be: I did not have to go out in the really cold Lithuanian weather. I attended classes even when I was sick or did not feel like stepping out, because it’s just several clicks away, and that is it. I saved a lot of time with the online time as well, because I did not physically have to attend. And plus, it is keeping us safe from the corona virus. The cons: it took away the chances of meeting the classmates and meeting new people and new friends. I did not get a chance to get to know the teachers or physically attend classes.
What have you learned so far?
I have learnt so many new things. It would be a long list, but to name a few: I have learnt techniques of assessing and testing muscles manually and a range of motion. I have learnt so much about human body so far; the anatomy subject was nice, overwhelming but very intriguing. I am still struggling to learn Lithuanian, but I have learnt a lot of things in Lithuanian as well. I have also learnt the importance of my personal health, critical thinking and professional communication.
What was the most memorable class at LSMU?
My most memorable experience was when I had a chance to attend a few anatomy lab sessions in person and I got to experience learning from a real dead body, quite amazing and interesting! It was my first time ever I saw a dead body dissection.
Was it hard to adapt to studying abroad? Share with us your adaptation experience in a foreign country.
I honestly did not really struggle much to settle down, because I always study abroad and explore different countries and cultures. Kaunas has been a great city, and I think it accepted me quite soon too.
Do you have “Kaunastic” experiences?
Kaunas is an exquisite city; it has everything for people from all over the world to experience. The beauty of Kaunas lies in its simplicity and culture. I had the best walks by the river. There are many other sites to explore yet. I am waiting for the lockdown to be over, so that I can explore more.
Do you know that the University offers student support system such as psychological support?
Yes, I am very aware that the University offers psychological support and mentors and tutors. I have met my mentor, he is amazing. However, I have not used any psychological support facility yet.
Is it difficult to learn Lithuanian language? What can you say in Lithuanian?
Lithuanian is indeed one of the toughest languages to learn in Europe, in my opinion. However, I am not giving up. I have learnt a lot.
I have learnt to introduce myself:
„Laba diena! Mano vardas Wafa. Aš esu iš Pietų Afrikos ir Pakistano. Aš kalbu angliškai, mokausi kalbėti lietuviškai. Man dvidešimt dveji metai. Aš studijuoju kineziterapiją, ir studijuoju Lietuvos sveikatos mokslų universitetas“.
At the end of the interview, Wafa Ali shared this message: “I love studying at LSMU; it offers a culturally rich environment, welcoming students from all over the world. I am loving the exploration of the diversity and the culture here.”
And yes, that is true! Wafa Ali’s group mates are from different countries, such as Israel, Iran, and Eritrea; – students study in a small groups, up to 10 people, which gives an opportunity to get more attention from lecturers.