'I feel very fortunate for the placement opportunities that I have had so far...'
Studying towards a Bachelor of Speech and Language Pathology with Honours
Supporting real-world clients with communication disorders has been a worthwhile opportunity for Livvy within her Speech and Language Pathology studies at UC.
Livvy had always wanted a career helping others, going from her initial goal of caring for animals to helping humans. Knowing people that needed specialised education and healthcare services inspired Livvy to be a part of the solution.
Being involved in the UC Bound event during high school helped motivate her university destination, and Livvy was interested in going into a health or educational services degree.
‘When my sister attended the UC Open Day and brought home flyers with a variety of course options, I discovered Speech and Language Pathology. It seemed like an ideal combination of health and education, and I quickly became excited about beginning my study,’ she says.
As preparation, Livvy made a point of seeking out a practicing speech-language therapist to gain insight to the field and see first-hand the growing need for clinical services in speech disorders.
‘This was helpful for me and I would recommend that others do the same,’ she says. ‘I also volunteered in a pre-school before starting university, and found it helpful to have gained skills working with people as this is a huge aspect of the job.’
The degree itself presented her with a number of her own clinical placements in the field. Some of her standout placements include the Champion Centre for young children with developmental and communication disabilities, and research project work with the UC Rose Centre for Stroke Recovery and Research.
‘It is very different to being in the classroom and a great opportunity to put our learning into practice, as well as learning new skills. I feel very fortunate to for the placement opportunities that I have had so far, as I have been able to get a taste of some niche areas of our practice.
‘As well as this, our lectures give us a wide range of knowledge, spanning all kinds of disorders and ages. We have had many highly acclaimed lecturers, including a number of Erskine Fellows, who have shared their knowledge with us.’
Livvy also says that the library staff and services at UC were especially invaluable throughout her degree studies.
By far her favourite part of the programme, however, is the speech-language community at UC. With more focused, smaller classes, Livvy was able to build strong connections with her fellow students.
‘I am so grateful for the friends I have made, we spend so much time with each other not only at university, but in our own time too – having study days, post-exam celebrations, and going to the Rec Centre.’
Livvy has enjoyed being amongst students outside of her small speech-language classes as well. As a UC Host, she has helped welcome current and future students and the wider Christchurch community onto campus for a variety of events.
‘I have met lots of people and gained some valuable communication skills and also been a part of some exciting events on campus such as building openings and Orientation Day,’ she says.
One of her other activities includes the Te Papa Hauora Future Leaders Health Systems Improvement Programme, a joint initiative between UC, Ara Institute of Canterbury, and Otago University. The programme gives students an insight and say into the future of the Aotearoa New Zealand health system, and she highly recommends to get involved.
She is also a student representative member of the New Zealand Speech-Language Therapists Association, with a role attending gatherings with qualified therapists and organising meetings for the other student members.
‘There is always a lot going on and something to get involved in,’ she says about university life.
Likewise, Livvy’s future plans are to gain experience in a variety of healthcare settings and client services, with her experiences in study having inspired her to work specifically with young children.