Ying Shan (Sunny) Loo
'It has been my ambition to get involved in the medical field...'
‘I was one of the eight lucky students who received the Malaysia Ministry of Education Scholarship to study at UC, and it has been my ambition to get involved in the medical field!’ says Sunny, who came to Christchurch from Malaysia to study Speech and Language Pathology (SLP).
‘Prior to this course, I was studying Pharmacy in University of Malaya. It was a tough choice and was a big decision for me to change course, university, and country. However, I am grateful that I made the right decision to pursue my study in UC.
‘My degree is a broad area of study around communication (including speech, language) and swallowing. Our field includes Augmentative and Alternative communication for population with special needs, fluency of speech (in plain language – cluttering and stuttering), voice, swallowing disorder, speech and language including social communication.’
Sunny enjoys the vast practical exposure and the people-skills she has developed throughout the course of her degree.
‘In my latest placement, I worked with special needs young children and their significant others, whanau, at McKenzie Centre, Hamilton. I saw clients with speech and language needs 1 to 1 for an hour every morning in the placement. As most of the children in the centre had delays, I played with the clients to expand their play skill, social communication, and expand their language. I also model play skills, discuss with parents about some strategies to support their children, and be a listener when the parents have concerns about their situations.
‘The placements also provided me the opportunity to better understand the Kiwi culture and communication style.’
When asked what she found most interesting in her course of study, Sunny says, ’I enjoyed learning new aspects of my degree; for example, the lecture about voice therapy for transgender population, and AAC devices for different population groups.
‘I have also become more independent in learning, to be more vocal in my opinion, and exposed me to interact with different groups of people. It also taught me to be flexible and how to recover from my mistakes when things do not go as planned. It is also an opportunity for me to step out of my comfort zone and build my interpersonal skills.
‘The courses in the programme have opened a Pandora’s Box of knowledge about speech, language, and swallowing for me. The field of Speech-language Therapy is constantly growing and expanding. Thus, it is important for me to have the ability to do reflection and lifelong learning.’
Sunny advices future SLP students to ‘work hard and stay focused in what you want to achieve. This degree needs a lot of commitment, especially once you start to have placements alongside with lectures.’
To support her academic learning, Sunny sought help from UC’s Academic Skill Centre.
‘The Centre helped me in understanding my own cultural differences in my first year in New Zealand, for example choices of word and types of greetings. They also offer English lessons for international students.’
Sunny was also greatly involved in UC Club’s community.
‘I loved joining clubs such as Canterbury Malaysian Students’ Association (CMSA), of which I became a committee member. I was a member of the UC Frisbee club, participating in some Frisbee tournaments! I also took part in UC’s Tower Race which was a new experience for me. By joining clubs I improved my time management skills and widen my social circle. I enjoyed meeting with lots of other students from different culture and countries at these events.’
During her first two years, Sunny flatted at Ilam Apartments which helped her ease into university life as a new student.
‘I got to meet and live with other international and local students. The facilities provided were great and complete such as common area for social activities, a big lawn, and laundry area. It was only a 5 minute walk to lectures!’
Having now graduated her degree, Sunny hopes to continue to work towards her career ambitions in Malaysia as a speech-language therapist.