Sarah Wei Ling Hiew
'There is a serious focus on skill development for lifelong learning and clinical practice...'
Working at Te Whatu Ora
Originally from Singapore, Sarah always knew that she wanted to have a career in the healthcare industry.
‘I have met some people with speech problems previously and that eventually sparked my interest in Speech Therapy,’ she says. ‘After some research on my part, I decided to pursue this degree. The things we learnt in the first year really captured my interest and I’ve stuck on ever since!’
Communication Disorders was a great compromise for helping others without becoming a nurse or doctor. Sarah’s favourite part about the degree was directly working with clients and knowing that she can make ‘a tangible difference in the lives of future clients’.
Throughout the degree, Sarah completed practical clinical work alongside lectures. These experiences allowed her to work with actual patients and learn how to communicate information to clients.
‘It’s a really fulfilling course if you really put in the effort. You gradually get more clinical workload and independence over the years, and less lecture time,’ she says. ‘It’s not always about assessing and treating people though. We do a lot of education, in that we teach clients (or their family or people that work with/around them) about different conditions and what they can do to help.
‘It has been an amazing experience. My study has definitely provided me with the knowledge and learning skills that I need to keep improving my clinical skills. I think the key thing about the degree is that they recognise that you can’t learn everything there is during the study, especially since research is continuous and we keep learning new things every day. So there is a serious focus on skill development for lifelong learning and clinical practice so that we can keep learning and adapting even after graduation.
‘My advice is to read up about speech therapy and apply for jobs shadowing in hospitals or other healthcare facilities. It’s a great way to give yourself an introduction to what we do!’
Having been to New Zealand as a child, Sarah was always keen on coming back one day. With most of her fellow students from Singapore choosing to go to the US or UK for university study, she decided on UC for more of a challenging experience.
‘I wanted to have a higher chance of meeting and getting to know people from other cultures and backgrounds so I chose to avoid the countries where most Singaporean students tend to gather.
‘UC really stood out to me as a choice not only because it was one of the few universities that offered my degree. I had spoken to a representative from UC and she was warm, friendly and really helpful. That really sealed the deal for me.
‘Everyone is really friendly and approachable, including lecturers and service staff,’ she says. ‘I really like the new buildings and facilities that opened up (tragically in my final year). In my time at UC, I would say my favourite café would definitely be the Mix Café in the Law building. Absolutely love the selection they have there!’