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Friday, March 3rd, 2017

5 reasons to study marine biology at James Cook University

Here’s a James Cook University Student Blog about studying marine biology, and why JCU is such a fantastic choice!

Before I came to university, I had a hard time deciding which university to choose. Making a list and weighing all the advantages and disadvantages helped me to make my decision and I surely do not regret it now. Coming to JCU was the best decision I made. Here is a small list of why I think JCU is the best place in the world to study marine biology.

5 reasons to study marine biology at James Cook University

JCU marine biology student Kessia Virah-Sawmy (Photo: JCU Connect)

1. So close to the iconic Great Barrier Reef

I come from an island found in the tropics and my country is surrounded by fringing reefs. I wanted to study somewhere where I could learn about corals and reef fishes and where best to do it than right on the Great Barrier Reef, the largest reef on the planet and a world heritage. The location of the GBR was the main reason why I chose JCU. With the reef right at their doorstep, researchers and students at JCU can work very closely on coral reefs.

Being in the tropics also means that Townsville has hot summers and nice (not-so-cold) winters. It is like summer all year round which is very similar to my tropical home. It was thus not a problem for me to adapt to this new environment.

2. Best facilities and lecturers

Studying marine biology at JCU means that you have access to a wide number of facilities from live specimens in practical classes to research facilities in both marine biology and aquaculture. JCU has a marine research station on Orpheus island which is located just off the coast of Ingham, about 2 hours North of Townsville. With accommodation and research facilities on the island, students can go on the island for specific classes to study the incredible marine life that surrounds the island.

James Cook University is highly recognised in terms of research done in the marine field including coral reef research, shark research or fisheries work. For the past years that I have been at JCU, I have had the great privilege of having lecturers who are experts in their field and who are eager and passionate to pass on their knowledge to the next generation. It is always great to hear about their experience and how they became who they are today. It gives us a sense of pride when we read a paper written by one of our lecturers or seeing them on the news. The JCU lecturers are world-known scientists who work with different research bodies such as the ARC (Australian Research Council) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies or the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

5 reasons to study marine biology at James Cook University

Diving is a given at JCU (Photo: JCU Connect)

3. Incredible field trips

As soon as I started first year, the lecturers were already getting us excited about field trips. Field trips are by far the most exciting part about studying marine biology. From going up Castle hill to look at rocks, to going down to the strand to count snails, or visiting fish farms, to snorkelling for hours around Orpheus island, I have been able to go on some incredible field trips so far.

Field trips makes the course even more interesting. You look forward to this one weekend where you get to spend 2 days on an island surrounded by the most beautiful coral reefs where you snorkel for hours and hours without getting tired of it. Or you get excited when you get to discover the breathtaking North Queensland while visiting fish farms. There are quite a few classes that have field trips to Orpheus island such as MB3160- Evolution and Ecology of Reef fishes, MB3190- Coral Reef Ecology, MB3210- Life History and Evolution of Reef Corals, MB3300- Coral Reef Ecosystems and EV3406- Coral Reef Geomorphology. I also enjoyed the AQ2002- Introduction to Tropical Aquaculture class where we got to visit different aquaculture farms in North Queensland.

4. Diving opportunities

The Great Barrier Reef offers amazing diving opportunities. From shallow reef diving off Cairns to the world-known shipwreck dive of Yongala, there is lots to see and discover. I had the chance to do get my Advanced PADI open water course on a liveaboard on the GBR. It was the best experience ever! We were able to dive with sharks, turtles and rays and see some amazing corals.

5 reasons to study marine biology at James Cook University

The iconic Great Barrier Reef (Photo: JCU Connect)

The JCU Dive Club also offers a number of trips throughout the semester ranging from day trips to 10-day trips on the reef. It is one of the most famous and active clubs on campus. They also offer courses such as Open divers, Advanced Divers, Rescue divers or CPR and First Aid courses.

5. Meeting people from all over the world

JCU is well known for marine studies and therefore attracts students from all over the world. I am not lying when I say that most of my classmates are international students. From Asia, to Europe, to the USA, to Africa, I have met people from all over the place. It is great to see how multicultural the campus is. As an international, this provides a welcoming environment where you learn to accept each other’s culture. I have developed close and strong friendships with different people and I can’t wait to travel the world and visit all of them.

I have also met some amazing Australian people who are always so eager to make us discover their culture which is mainly Barbies and a “cool” attitude. They are by far the most welcoming people I have ever met. A few months in the country and the Aussies will have already taught you how to speak Australian, which is basically just shortening every word.

There are so many more reasons to why I chose JCU but those are my top 5. JCU is recognised worldwide as one of the best in marine research, more specifically in Coral Reef research and Tropical Aquaculture. Many of my friends back home were sceptic as to why I would come all the way to far North Queensland to study Marine Biology. Well now I can tell them that it is the best decision I have made and I would not have chosen a different university.

Story by Kessia Virah-Sawmy via JCU Connect

Master of Science in Marine Biology and Ecology

JCU is the leading education and research institution for Marine Biology in the Tropics. JCU’s unique location enables students from Australia and overseas to study in a diverse physical environment unparalleled by any university in the world.

The postgraduate degree program in Marine Biology and Ecology is internationally recognised. We focus on developing career professionals who can address the grand challenges for marine and coastal ecosystems, particularly in the tropical Asia-Pacific region. You will be researching and tackling issues such as

  • Climate change, ecosystem resilience and adaptation
  • Ecosystem restoration
  • Environmental and ecological sustainability
  • Biodiversity and conservation challenges for marine organisms and ecosystems
  • Sustainable marine resource management
  • Global and regional food security
  • Sustainable livelihoods for coastal and island based societies.

Program: Master of Science (Marine Biology and Ecology)
Location: Townsville, Queensland
Duration: 1.5 years
Semester intakes: February and July
Application deadline: January 30 and June 29 each year
Entry requirements: Completion of a recognised, appropriate undergraduate degree attaining a minimum of 65% or equivalent prior learning including appropriate professional experience.

Apply to the Master of Science at James Cook University!


Are you interested in studying marine biology at James Cook University? Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com for more information!

Friday, February 17th, 2017

Studying at UQ Pharmacy is more than just counting pills

Studying pharmacy is more than just counting pills. Meet current UQ Pharmacy student, Sakina, who applied through OzTREKK in 2013. In Part 1 of his blog, Sakina offers advice for anyone considering studying pharmacy in Australia.

My name is Sakina. I am currently in my third year of pharmacy at UQ. I was born and raised in Canada and made my big move to Australia two and a half years ago. I am a chemistry nerd at heart so pharmacy seemed the best fitting career for me. I aim to be a high achiever but I don’t like to get consumed by classes or work, so in my downtime, I love to explore the outdoors such as going on hikes, to the beach, traveling, going on road trips, and hanging with friends. Fashion is another passion of mine so that is another aspect of my life that I really want to continue to develop.

Studying at UQ Pharmacy is more than just counting pills

Former OzTREKK student Sakina enjoying the UQ Bachelor of Pharmacy program (Photo credit: UQ)

I have found that sometimes uni students become so obsessed with their grades and results that they forget to focus their attention on the key experiences which are designed to develop them into a valued professional.

When you first come to uni you realise very quickly that university and high school are two completely different beasts. There are a range of changes which make them so vastly different and it can feel intimidating at first, but trust me when I say this: you can achieve anything you put your mind to. Patience and hard work are some of the key elements which will help you to achieve your goals. Regardless of the field of study you are in, communication and social skills are essential when it comes to life in general, so best to get good at this early on. These are the factors which many students forget about. They think that achieving straight high distinctions will lead to their future success, when in reality it really doesn’t guarantee anything.

Pharmacy is one of those fields where these skills are more essential than you may think. Regardless of whether you choose to become a hospital or community pharmacist, you will be communicating with patients on a daily basis. It is important that you learn how to communicate with patients in the most simplistic, informative, and non-frightening manner, especially when it comes to medication administration and usage. As a healthcare professional, patient care should be at the core of your profession, which is why the UQ Pharmacy program places so much emphasis on this.

Stay tuned for part 2 of Sakina’s story: Placements

Are you interested in studying pharmacy at the University of Queensland?

Program: Bachelor of Pharmacy
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Duration: 3–4 years, depending on candidate’s education background
Application deadline: Generally November 29 each year; however, late applications may be accepted.

Entry Requirements

Applicants are required to have completed their high school diploma. Applicants should have completed Grade 12 English, Chemistry and Math to meet program prerequisites. If you have commenced or completed a university degree or any post-secondary studies, your most recent studies will be assessed in terms of your grades. If you have not completed the necessary prerequisite subjects in your post-secondary studies, your high school transcripts will then be assessed for prerequisite subjects.

Apply to the University of Queensland Pharmacy School!


Learn more about UQ Pharmacy School. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Pharmacy Schools Admissions Officer Krista McVeigh at krista@oztrekk.com.

Monday, February 6th, 2017

UQ Medicine graduate shares 9 things he wishes he’d been told as a med student

Hailing from Canada, Shaun completed his medical degree at UQ before undertaking his fellowship at the University of Toronto and his residency with University of Calgary. He currently works full time as a Queensland Health registrar within intensive care and in his spare time he works for House Call Doctor— a 100% bulk-billed, after-hours, home GP service operating in Queensland. If you’d like to hear firsthand from a Canadian who is now practicing medicine in Australia, check out Shaun’s advice!

UQ Medicine graduate shares 9 things he wishes he'd been told as a med student

Canadian Shaun Hosein, now practicing in Australia! (Photo credit: UQ)

1. Study medicine for the right reasons.
Medicine is a highly rewarding career that has many opportunities in various sub-specialty fields. However it is a long road, requires intensive study, and at times can seem impossible. It is not a decision to be made lightly, and there are times I wish I could fix that leaky pipe in my kitchen. I chose medicine, because it not only helps people, but I enjoy thinking on my feet and problem solving. Reflecting a bit more, it has also developed my personal ethics and communication skills.

2. For international medicine students, you can’t beat UQ for education and lifestyle.
UQ is constantly improving their medicine course which I feel is important when choosing a university and medical school. When I was applying they were very approachable and efficient throughout the application process.  The case-based learning style made me nervous, but I think it is the best way to learn and study medicine. Brisbane is also an amazing city, it has the best climate of all Australian cities (none of this “four seasons in one day” stuff). Plus the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast are about an hour away! Perfect study and lifestyle balance.

3. Studying internationally is incredible, but it can be difficult when you return home.
I have spoken to numerous potential Canadian medical school candidates over the years, and my advice is the same. Studying medicine at UQ was a life-changing event for me, and provided me unique opportunities in an amazing country. I won’t lie—you will find it challenging being away from home, and to be honest, getting back into the Canadian system is difficult. UQ does facilitate opportunities to make this process easier, but it is still a challenge. Be prepared to finish internship training in Australia before considering the road back or please at least obtain and maintain general registration with AHPRA.

4. There are pros and cons to working in different health systems, so consider what’s important to you.
I can only speak in relation to the Canadian and Australian healthcare systems, but in my honest experience you get paid more, will have better shifts and rosters, and overall better work-life balance in Australia.  On the other hand, internship training is structured better in Canada: training is slightly shorter and there are no primary exams, but the programs are very difficult to get accepted into.

5. In medicine, you can have a “typical routine” but you’ll never have a “typical day.”
I currently work for Queensland Health and for House Call Doctor when I have extra time in the evenings, usually on nights off, or weekends. Being a home GP after-hours is very flexible and works well with my schedule. Working with House Call Doctor means I get to visit a wide variety of patients who need urgent after-hours care, treating everything from acute cold and flus to more serious conditions, such as gastro, home accidents or chronic illness. You really never know what kind of patients you’ll treat!

6. Sometimes taking the road less travelled will put you on the right path.
I always wanted to work in primary care, but it was quite difficult to get any experience and determine if it suited me. House Call Doctor has given me this experience but it’s also shown me another side to medical practice. I honestly feel after-hours care is becoming its own sub-specialty of medicine. I enjoy it because it allows me to have a simple chat with patients, to see children or speak with a young mum. It is very rewarding, and not something I could have experienced working in the adult system alone.

7. As a student, it’s easy to get run down from all that studying (and perhaps socialising). When you do get sick there are probably more healthcare options available to you than you think.
House Call Doctor offers 100% bulk-billed home GP visits to anyone with a Medicare or DVA (Department of Veteran’s Affair) Card.  Having a GP visit your home can be particularly useful in acute medical situations that don’t warrant an emergency department response, but can’t wait until normal clinic hours. House Call Doctor visits a wide cross-section of patients, including students living in shared accommodation. International students can also take advantage of the after-hours medical care, rebated if they travelling with BUPA, NIB, Allianz or Medibank insurance. For more information you can visit www.housecalldoctor.com.au, or you can phone the after-hours line on 13 55 66 to book an appointment.

8. Support networks and technology are invaluable for international students.
Having a strong family and supportive Australian peer group is extremely important throughout your medical degree. At the same time, don’t underestimate the impact of technology. Skype, FaceTime, and WhatsApp will ensure you can easily stay in touch with loved ones back home.

9. Your medical degree can take you anywhere and you’re likely to end up somewhere completely different to where you thought you would.
I have worked in numerous medical fields, and I have definitely not taken a straight path. Initially I was very keen on critical care (ICU), but when I worked in Haiti post-earthquake and again in Africa I got a better understanding of health and the need for public health medicine and primary care. I have since completed Canadian postgraduate training in public health medicine, and am now working towards translating my qualification here in Australia. I also have a public health interest in illicit substance abuse and drug use patterns and am completing a fellowship in toxicology. I tell everyone, especially medical students, to never discount the idea of being a GP; I’m still considering it, if I get time.

About the UQ Medical School Program

The UQ Medical School conducts a four-year, graduate-entry medical program, the Doctor of Medicine (MD). The School of Medicine is a leading provider of medical education and research in Australia, and with the country’s largest medical degree program, they are the major single contributor to Queensland’s junior medical workforce.

Program: Doctor of Medicine (MD)
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intake: January
Duration: 4 years
Application deadline: Applications are assessed on a rolling admissions (first come, first served) basis. It is recommended that applicants apply as early as possible to increase their chances of timely assessment. This program can fill quickly!

Apply to the UQ School of Medicine!


Find out more about the UQ School of Medicine. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Medical Schools Admissions Officer Courtney Frank at courtney@oztrekk.com, or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355.

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

UQ pharmacy student’s community placement

The UQ Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) is one of Australia’s most comprehensive and well-respected pharmacy degrees, both domestically and internationally, and offers intensive pharmacy placements so students can get fully prepared for their career in pharmacy. Here, a current UQ Pharmacy student talks about the community placement experience.

I have had three blocks of placements (over the course of the past three years) while undertaking the Bachelor of Pharmacy, and I have learnt many different things from each experience. I hope that this post helps anyone thinking about studying pharmacy to have a slight insight into the degree, and helps those already enrolled in the program to prepare for their first placement.

UQ pharmacy student's community pharmacy placement

Study at UQ Pharmacy School

As a first-year pharmacy student, I wasn’t quite sure why we needed to do a community placement in the first place. Since then the answers have become quite obvious. Community placement gave me an insight into the operations and running of a small business and got me familiar with the daily practices of a pharmacy. This was particularly helpful as it was segmented throughout my degree and in plenty of time for my final intern year (which all students must complete after graduation). The experience also helped me to plan my study more effectively and assisted me in making career decisions, e.g., whether to be a community or hospital pharmacist. After my very positive placement experiences in community pharmacies, I have now decided to pursue this career avenue.

How to prepare for your first placement?

When on placement, you must be aware and switched on at all times. An attendance sheet must be signed by your preceptor (supervisor) after each placement, so it is important to try to impress them with your professionalism and pharmacy knowledge. You will be taking notes on every patient case that you observe; therefore, remember to pack a good pen (possibly a backup too), your attendance sheets, and your pharmacy student badge. For your second year you will also have to remember your graduated descriptor tools; however, you won’t need these in the first year. These tools allow your preceptor to grade your performance and enables open communication and advice between the two of you. It’s actually quite fun when you get to this stage and start to discuss your performance and things which you could improve on, with a graduated professional. Often the things that you feel like you are doing wrong, do not look the same (or as bad) for others. This feedback really helps shape and improve your placement performance.

What do you do on placement?

On your very first day on placement you will be required to observe and answer a list of questions provided by your course coordinator. These questions prompt your thoughts and help you to familiarise yourself with the business and how to deal with customer interactions. They may also teach you some of the basics including compounding medicine and using the cashier machine. Try to soak up as much experience and knowledge as possible in your four-hour shift. The time seems to fly past!

On your second placement (which is in second year, second semester) you will be required to get much more involved in the customer interactions, you may even handle some of the customer cases in regard to over-the-counter medications (either from direct-product request cases or symptom-based cases). Try to write down or remember each of your cases after your shift. These examples will be useful for your weekly reflective diary. Each year your responsibilities will grow and by year three you will be required to dispense a number of scripts and be confident with your patient interactions.

How to find a placement location?

In most cases for first-year students the placement locations will be arranged by the UQ Pharmacy administration. Or, if you have a specific pharmacy in mind, you can be proactive and find your placement site yourself. If you are planning to find it yourself, I would recommend you to search for the pharmacies nearest to your house, or at least those you can reach easily through public transport. Make sure you also take into consideration the services they provide, such as compounding, dose administration aids and any specialty services. Remember to take into account the business environment in which it operates. If it’s a busy pharmacy you may get to learn more and receive more opportunities to learn.

Choose the pharmacy that fits your preferences, then approach the manager in person to politely ask about their placement opportunities. Be prepared with your resume, university timetable and preceptor introduction letter (provided by the school). This will make you look organised and professional. This preparation will give you practice for your future placements, which must be found yourself. My suggestion is to not put all your eggs in one basket by only approaching one pharmacy. Many students are looking for placements and it takes them some time to filter through the students. Visit as many pharmacies as you can and put your best foot forward (including dressing smartly) to give a good first impression and increase your chances of being chosen.

What happens if you mess up on placement?

Mistakes do happen, which is why it is important to wear your student placement badge. This allows customers to be aware that you are still studying and are not completely armed with the knowledge and skills of a qualified professional.  Often this makes customers much more forgiving and considerate if you do make a mistake. If there is something you are not sure of then don’t freak out. Apologise and get help from one of the other pharmacy professionals. Make sure you listen to how they deal with the problem in order to learn from the experience and get it right next time around. Don’t be shy to speak out and ask the other staff members lots of questions on placement. You will learn much more from them than from reading a book or studying your lecture notes.

Do placements lead to paid jobs?

Many of my friends got hired by their preceptors and started to work part-time in the pharmacies whilst finishing their degree. If you are hoping for the same result then I would suggest you to try to go on placement at the big franchise pharmacies like Chemist Warehouse or Terry White Chemist. They will have greater job opportunities due to their many locations.

Finally, double-check everything before you go for your first day on placement: badge, attendance sheets, and pens. The last thing you want is to look disorganised on your first day. Most importantly, enjoy the experience and learn as much as you can. The skills you learn during this time will be the backbone of your future career as a pharmacist.

Story via UQ School of Pharmacy
Meet the author

Hi, my name is Pei Sin. I am in my third year of the Bachelor of Pharmacy at UQ. I am originally from Malaysia and am enjoying my time studying in Australia. I am a creative person so in my downtime, outside of uni, I enjoy painting, sketching and drawing. If I can find the time amongst study I also am a big fan of crime and investigations shows like NCIS, CIS and Bones—I definitely get a kick out of it when they mention chemical/medical terms which I understand.

UQ Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours)

The UQ Bachelor of Pharmacy program prepares graduates for the contemporary role of the pharmacist in society, ensuring that patients optimize medication usage. Initial courses on chemical, physical and biological studies lead to professional specialties in later years. Practical and clinical science studies begin in first year, providing students with a strong background in professional practice.

Program: Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours)
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Duration: 4 years

Apply to the University of Queensland Pharmacy School!


Learn more about UQ Pharmacy! Krista McVeigh is OzTREKK’s Australian Pharmacy Schools Admissions Officer. Contact Krista at 1-866-698-7355 or krista@oztrekk.com.

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

Congratulations to our OzTREKK Community Leaders Scholarship winners!

Congratulations to our three 2016 OzTREKK Community Leaders Scholarship winners:

University of Sydney Occupational Therapy School

Sharon Yeung is headed to Sydney OT School

Jannelle Chisholm, Bond University, Juris Doctor
Sharon Yeung, University of Sydney, Master of Occupational Therapy
Barinder Khehra, University of Sydney, Doctor of Medicine

If you missed it, we announced our winners December 16, 2016 via our Facebook page!

The OzTREKK Community Leaders Scholarships were created to assist students who have demonstrated leadership, compassion, and innovation in their communities. What we didn’t realise is that so many of you are so incredible! The task of choosing the top three was extremely difficult, but this is how we did it:

Bond University Law School

Future Bond JD student Jannelle Chisholm

Students were evaluated on their written letters and videos. It took approximately two months for our scholarship committee to review all applications. Many submissions had to be read/watched multiple times in order to absorb just how much some of the applicants had accomplished! In an office email, OzTREKK Director Jaime Notman commented that “there were a few jaw-dropping moments for me (where I read, re-read and re-read—again—to see if I was mistaken).”

The committee was truly blown away by the calibre of the applications! Such a of variety of community involvement, both on a local and a global scale, and there were certainly some applications that broke office silence—either with a laugh or a cheerful “wow!”

We also have to give a shout-out to the singers, the attempts at Aussie accents, and the didgeridoo players!

So what kind of community involvement did we see? A lot. Here are just a few examples:

  • CLOUD project, part of The NWC – Sustainable Travel for Impact and Community Development Projects in Dominican Republic, Haiti, Uganda, Kenya, Guyana
  • FITFAM – a health and fitness program to help encourage, educate and empower participants to live healthier lives, including weekly boot-camp class, nutrition challenges, health and wellness seminars, and sponsored 5K events.
  • Leader of a mobility fundraiser for wheelchairs delivered to Peru
  • Make Way For Me! Occupational Therapy for Children and Youth – Assisted in the creation, planning, and management as a Skill Development Summer Program, where program facilitators provided intensive services to address areas such as anxiety reduction, emotional regulation, social skills, printing development, and gross motor skills such as riding a bike.
  • President of the Caribbean Students Association – Raised awareness for the struggle of cultural integration, orchestrated events to raise money to donate to Haiti relief groups and donated backpacks to an elementary school in Saint Lucia.
University of Sydney Doctor of Medicine

Barinder Khehra will be studying medicine at Sydney Uni

The group evaluation was tough—the applications showed so much passion and purpose, we wanted to share the scholarship love with everyone! We watched many of the videos repeatedly, combed through written applications, and spent hours discussing and finally selecting the three winners.

It is difficult for the committee to express the appreciation we have for all of our applicants’ efforts. We understand many had likely taken weeks to plan and create their applications, and we want everyone to know we absorbed every detail.

Congratulations again, Barinder, Sharon, and Jannelle! OzTREKK is so proud of what you have accomplished thus far and we are excited to see the positive waves you’ll continue to make within your communities, even Down Under!


Best wishes to all our OzTREKK students—we know you’ll make a difference!

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Former OzTREKK student practicing physiotherapy in Australia

Former OzTREKKer Kyle Mitchell’s pathway to physiotherapy started with a baseball scholarship to study at the New Mexico Military Institute in the US. He went on to study a Bachelor of Science at the University of British Columbia before relocating to Australia and enrolling in Bond’s Doctor of Physiotherapy.

Former OzTREKK student practicing physiotherapy in Australia

Bond DPT graduate (and former OzTREKKer!) Kyle Mitchell (Photo: Bond University)

While he originally planned to return home to practice in Canada, he’s created a new life for himself on the Gold Coast, working in private practice at Pindara Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine, and in the community as physiotherapist for Bond University’s AFL Club and the Major League Baseball Australian Academy Program. He has also travelled with the Australian National under 15 baseball team to the World Championships.

So what’s it like to study physio at Bond?

My favourite aspects of studying at Bond were the small classes, intensive learning and the large amount of practical clinical experience which made up more than 42 weeks of the course.

The faculty staff arranged a variety of placements so I was exposed to all areas of specialisation. This really broadened my perspective on the profession and I nearly switched my pathway from sports to paediatrics, which I would never have considered if it hadn’t been for a great placement that allowed me to see into that domain.

For me, the most satisfying part of being a physiotherapist is developing a plan and successfully implementing a program for patients who have struggled with an injury for an extended period. In some instances, you have quite literally changed the course of their life.

As a physiotherapist in a private practice, I see patients presenting with a wide variety of conditions, from post-operative orthopaedic issues through to vertigo, vestibular and musculoskeletal disorders. I also have a special interest in sports physiotherapy so I work with athletes and teams—mainly AFL and baseball.

On a typical day, I’ll see 10 to 15 patients. With new patients, I’ll do a clinical history and objective assessment so I can develop a treatment and rehabilitation plan. As treatment progresses, I monitor and support their progress while providing education about their condition.

A number of my patients come through the Department of Veteran Affairs and WorkCover. I’ve learned over time that my interactions have a significant impact on their progress so I spend a lot of time educating patients to help them understand their condition. What you say can be as important as the physical treatment.

I’ve also learned that having a business perspective is essential when you’re working in health. You need to understand the financial implications of your treatment, not only for yourself and the practice, but for patients whose financial situation may impact on their access to your service.

For me, the most satisfying part of being a physiotherapist is developing a plan and successfully implementing a program for patients who have struggled with an injury for an extended period. In some instances, you have quite literally changed the course of their life.

My final internship led to my current position working at Pindara Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine. The internship gave me the opportunity to develop a rapport with the team so that practical element of Bond’s physiotherapy program is invaluable in terms of finding employment. In fact, I have yet to meet a graduate who hasn’t been able to find a job in the field of their choice.

Want to get into Physiotherapy? My advice…

Find your passion and follow it. There are plenty of jobs available in private practice but you need to make sure that whatever you’re interested in will be encouraged or is already promoted at the clinic you choose. That way, you’ll always find the right job.

Also, know that people love to teach and educate others. Use that to become a better clinician by asking questions and seeking out further learning that will allow you to progress in your career!

About Bond Physiotherapy Work Experience and Internships

Bond physiotherapy students complete a clinical internship with an embedded research project in their final semester. This placement is designed to ensure graduates are ideally placed for entering the workforce. The first 30 weeks of clinical experiences will be gained in both hospital and community settings and will include working in the clinical areas of

  • orthopaedics;
  • cardiorespiratory;
  • out-patient musculoskeletal practice (hospital or private practice settings);
  • neurological and orthogeriatric rehabilitation (hospital and community settings); and
  • an elective in paediatrics, women’s/men’s health or sports practice.


Do you have questions about studying at Bond Physiotherapy School? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Physiotherapy Schools Admissions Officer Krista McVeigh at krista@oztrekk.com.

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

University of Sydney Bachelor of Pharmacy alumna discusses her career highlights

Anne Nguyen graduated with a Bachelor of Pharmacy in 2008 from the University of Sydney. Since then her career in pharmacy has taken her to various roles and locations—from hospital pharmacy in Sydney to international management roles in the pharmaceutical industry.

Today, Anne works as a Project Leader for Boston Consultancy Group, a global management-consulting firm, based out of the company’s flagship office in New York City.

With such a diverse career in pharmacy, the university chatted with Anne to find out about her career highlights so far and how she found her experience studying pharmacy at the University of Sydney.

Discover a pharmacy career with alumna Anne Nguyen

Anne Nguyen, Bachelor of Pharmacy graduate (Photo: University of Sydney)

1. In a snapshot, what does your day-to-day role involve?

My role is to manage a team of several consultants and work side-by-side with clients to solve problems.

There is no typical day as a project leader in the pharmaceutical industry; things vary depending on the project and the week. However, it is often a combination of travelling, working with clients, team brainstorms and reviewing presentation decks and analyses.

2. What’s the best opportunity that has come from your current role?

Boston Consultancy Group has exposed me to a wide variety of opportunities. While my focus has mainly been on healthcare, I have been lucky enough as a project leader to manage the design of our new flagship New York office of 600+ people at Hudson Yards.

3. What do you love most about working in pharmacy and healthcare?

A career in pharmacy allows you to work with great people solving interesting problems across a wide variety of industries. I have had the privilege to work with many healthcare clients (e.g., biopharma companies, pharmacies, health insurers and global health foundation), as well as retailers, a media company and even an art school.

Being a project leader in pharmacy is a diverse role and no two days are the same, which keeps things interesting and exciting.

4. Tell us 3 career highlights since graduating pharmacy at Sydney

One of the many great aspects of studying a Bachelor of Pharmacy is the wide variety of career opportunities in healthcare available to you after graduation. After working in some great roles across a range of industries within pharmacy, these have been some of my highlights.

  • I started out my career as an intern at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead Pharmacy. Managing the cardiology ward was one of my great career highlights and where I learnt a lot about what makes a good team and customer service.
  • As a Boston Consultancy Group Associate, I worked on a strategy project with a leading pharmacy to drive significant growth. But even more so, I helped to design and test the solution in 85 stores before it was rolled out to the rest of their stores.
  • As a Boston Consultancy Group consultant, I worked with the global heads of manufacturing and quality at a large biopharma company to improve their organisational structure.

5. Why did you decide to study a degree in pharmacy?

A love of science and a passion to help people were two of the main things that guided me to undertake a career in pharmacy. The Bachelor of Pharmacy degree allowed me to combine and explore both.

6. What did you enjoy most about the Faculty of Pharmacy?

The people! I learnt so much from my peers, the faculty staff and academics. Studying at the University of Sydney allowed me to learn from leaders in the pharmacy industry, who were always willing to pass on their knowledge and lessons learned.

7. Why did studying at the University of Sydney appeal to you?

I was able to study at a top-tiered pharmacy program in unmatched beautiful grounds. Every time I see a Jacaranda tree, it brings back wonderful memories.

University of Sydney Bachelor of Pharmacy

The Bachelor of Pharmacy program provides students with the core skills and knowledge required for the effective delivery of pharmaceutical care and the ability to proceed to research. Students will study the chemical, physical, pharmaceutical, and pharmacological properties of medicinal substances and the application of these in the pharmacy profession. The Faculty of Pharmacy has an enviable national and international reputation that means students will study and interact with world-renowned academics and enjoy access to best practice teaching laboratories and cutting-edge technology.

Program: Bachelor of Pharmacy
Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Semester intake: March
Duration: 4 years
Application deadline: It is recommended that candidates apply as early as possible to provide time for the pre-departure process.

Apply to the University of Sydney Bachelor of Pharmacy!


Learn more about studying pharmacy at the University of Sydney. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Pharmacy Schools Admissions Officer Krista McVeigh at krista@oztrekk.com.

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

From Yellowknife to Sydney: OzTREKK student trades snow for surf Part 2

If you’re considering studying dentistry in Australia, you’ve come to the right place.

Every year, OzTREKK helps hundreds of prospective students apply to dental schools in Australia, and because of the reciprocal agreement between Canada and Australia regarding dentistry accreditation, getting a dentistry degree in Australia is a very attractive option for many people—including OzTREKK student Lorynn Westad, who’s currently in her first year at Sydney Dental School.

(Continuation from “From Yellowknife to Sydney: OzTREKK student trades snow for surf“)

From Yellowknife to Sydney: OzTREKK student trades snow for surf

Me as a Rural Health Ambassador (med, physio, pharmacy, nursing were also present) with the Mirage Rural Health Initiative on their trip demonstrating some fine motor skills required for dentistry to some eager high school students

My educational background is fairly unremarkable. I came from a small public school in a farming community, my elementary school class only having five people in my grade. My high school had approximately 90 people in my grade and was located in an industry town with trade occupations dominating the future career interests of most of my classmates. Upon graduation I was one of three people who ventured out of the community to pursue university study and commenced my journey towards becoming a dental professional.

Choosing to study dentistry

I had a positive experience as a kid. I had absolutely terrible teeth, so bad I never smiled in pictures because I was extremely self-conscious. To make things even more difficult, because of my occlusion, I also had a very obvious speech impediment that truly affected my ability to create and take advantage of social opportunities, and impacted my confidence a great deal. Eventually, I was able to get braces. In as little as a few months my teeth straightened significantly. It totally revolutionised my concept of self, and my self-esteem.

“The best things in life are worth working for.”

In addition, my speech improved to a point where my impediment was barely noticeable. Being able to appreciate what a huge difference the state of my smile made for me, I became quite fascinated by everything to do with teeth, and wanted to do the same for others one day. Plus with dentistry being a perfect integration of arts and science, it was a natural fit for me and I became determined to become part of the profession.

From Yellowknife to Sydney: OzTREKK student trades snow for surf

Real action shot from sim clinic from the POV of the mannequin

Choosing to move to Australia

Studying abroad, particularly for the entirety of your degree, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. With a desire for adventure and taking the path less travelled, I decided that studying in Australia was something that I had to do.

The Sydney was my first choice as I was attracted to the fact that the university offered the graduate-level Doctor of Dental Medicine, as well as the beautiful city itself is on the coast. I know that my choice to come to the University of Sydney was the right one.

Choosing to embrace a challenge

I am enjoying the DMD program immensely, although I have never studied so much in my entire life. The program is extremely challenging, more so than I had initially thought, but despite it being overwhelming sometimes it is an excellent program. I was shocked that in the very first few weeks we start attending Simulation Clinic where we practice and develop our manual dexterity by drilling, filling, and polishing the teeth of our mannequin. Most programs don’t introduce this practical component so early, and I think having the early introduction, maximizing my opportunity to develop my practical skills will shape me into a very competent (and confident!) dentist upon graduation.

From Yellowknife to Sydney: OzTREKK student trades snow for surf

Me with some fellow dental/medical students (newfound friends) after the 5K Color Run in Sydney

Choosing where to live

I ended up going with university accommodation at International House. It’s amazing because it’s right on campus, but the only fallback was that since the Sydney dental program is so busy, I haven’t been able to be as active in the International House community as I would like.

Living on campus is perfect for me. The only drawback is that it is expensive. I pay about $430 a week for a self-catered studio (fully furnished, unlimited internet, all utilities included). The nice thing was everything was set up for me when I got there so I didn’t have to stress at all.

“Studying abroad, particularly for the entirety of your degree, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

If I had any advice, I would say living on campus for the first semester is the best way to get used to Sydney. If you can get a half-year lease—many of my friends moved to less expensive or more attractive locations during their mid-semester break, but it’s really tough to know the area at first—don’t be intimidated. You’ll be oriented in no time!

Choosing to share tips with others

From Yellowknife to Sydney: OzTREKK student trades snow for surf

Me intermingling with the medical students at the Annual Medical Ball (they call me the “honorary med student”—made friends with med and dent!)

Watch flights for months before you go, as sometimes there are some really great deals. One of my classmates had a ticket for $600$ CAD one way—he just had a 22-hour layover in Hawaii. He spent most of his layover on the beach!

Plan early! It’s an expensive investment in yourself so make sure that it’s right for you. If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying. Identify where you could improve, whether that be with your DAT, GPA, or interview, and take the initiative to improve your areas of weakness! Don’t be discouraged!

I’m glad about the lack of Canadian winter! But honestly, the friendships that I’m building—that’s my favourite part. It’s an amazing adventure and a phenomenal opportunity, but prepare to work hard! Use your resources, make friends, and inspire each other. Embrace the challenge positively and believe in yourself.

The best things in life are worth working for.


Are you interested in studying dentistry in Australia? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Dental Schools Admissions Officer Adam Smith at adam@oztrekk.com or call 1-866-698-7355.

Friday, November 18th, 2016

JCU medical student: Australian snacks you need to try

Former OzTREKK student Helena Xiang is back, and she’s got some snacking tips for everyone headed to JCU Medical School in Townsville, Queensland… and for everyone else, too!

Confession: I am a habitual snacker. There are always food packages sprawled across my desk for my convenience when I study. That’s why I’m always on the hunt for new snacks I’ve never tried before. I’ll be talking about different foods to try while you’re here.

When you travel, eating the food from that country is a way to experience their culture. Although Australia is very similar in culture (and food) as Canada and the US, you can still find some foods that are iconic or only available in Australia.

JCU med student: Australian snacks you need to try

Have you tried a Tim Tam slam?

Tim Tams

One of the most iconic Australian snacks, Tim Tams consist of cream between two biscuits and covered in chocolate. There are so many different types of flavours, including the original, three bean, mango, etc. This is probably one of the first snacks to try.


It’s an acquired taste. Only a thin layer of it on bread is needed. Any more than that and the taste becomes too strong. I heard that it tastes best in a grilled cheese sandwich. (OzTREKK note: Vegemite is a yeast-based product. It is extremely salty and bitter and most people won’t like it right away… or ever!)

JCU med student: Australian snacks you need to try

Do you dare to try Vegemite?

Red Rock Deli chips

These are really good chips, but really expensive (for a poor student on a budget). They have a selection of cool flavours that aren’t available where I’m from, like Wagyu Beef and Wasabi Cream, and Creamy Saffron and Sage. (OzTREKK note: Director Jaime Notman’s favourite flavour is Green Chilli & Coriander!)

JCU med student: Australian snacks you need to try

Red Rock Deli chips—Green Chilli & Coriander!

There are many other snacks that are worth trying, including the selection of Arnott’s biscuits, and some chocolate and candies.

On a side note: Townsville is a small city, and there aren’t that many restaurants and stores close to campus. I talked to some people I know on campus, and realized that not many people know of nice Asian stores and restaurants. If you’re like me, and enjoy eating Asian foods or want to find certain oriental ingredients, the following are a couple places worth visiting.

For oriental foods and groceries, such as frozen dumplings, steam buns, spices, and instant noodles, it’s worth visiting Oriental Food Supplies. It’s close by (near Stockland), and the prices are reasonable.

Sun’s Chinese Dumplings

Great dumplings and fairly cheap as well! It’s a family business, and they have free delivery to select places on certain days. Worth a try! You can visit their Facebook page.

Hope you enjoyed it, and happy eating!


Think you might be interested in studying at JCU Medical School? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Medical Schools Admissions Officer Courtney Frank at courtney@oztrekk.com for more information about your options!

Monday, November 14th, 2016

Former OzTREKK student featured by UQ Pharmacy

There is an exciting future for the field (of pharmacy), one that I want to be a part of.

Former OzTREKK student featured by UQ Pharmacy

UQ Pharmacy student Brian Kim

Every now and then a familiar face pops up. We especially like it when it’s a former OzTREKK student being featured on an Australian university website! UQ Pharmacy recently let us know that one of our students, Brian Kim, was one of them! Here’s what Brian has to say about the Bachelor of Pharmacy at UQ:

“UQ is well known in Canada and it recognizes previous studies which was a major deciding factor in choosing to study here. In addition, it satisfied my desire to study abroad and experience a new country.

“The lecturers and tutors are one of the best things about UQ. They are some of the highest quality educators I have experienced and they genuinely care about making sure you have a positive learning experience.

“UQ offers a great program that incorporates a good balance between practical and theoretical learning, a great learning environment, and great staff to help you through the challenging degree.

“The field of pharmacy is changing very rapidly with pharmacists taking on more responsibility when it comes to patients’ health outcomes. This, combined with the fact that pharmacists are employed in many different industries means there is an exciting future for the field, one that I want to be a part of.”

Are you interested in studying pharmacy at the University of Queensland?

Program: Bachelor of Pharmacy
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Duration: 4 years

Entry Requirements

Applicants to UQ Pharmacy are required to have completed their high school diploma. Applicants should have completed Grade 12 English, Chemistry and Math to meet program prerequisites.

If you have commenced or completed a university degree or any post-secondary studies, your most recent studies will be assessed in terms of your grades. If you have not completed the necessary prerequisite subjects in your post-secondary studies, your high school transcripts will then be assessed for prerequisite subjects.

Don’t forget: Credit Transfers!

Many international students with prior study (especially those with a science background) are able to enter directly into Year 2 of the Bachelor of Pharmacy. If credit is awarded, students can undertake an additional course in their first and second semester of enrollment and complete the program in just 3 years.

Apply to the University of Queensland Pharmacy School!


Learn more about UQ Pharmacy School. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Pharmacy Schools Admissions Officer Krista McVeigh at krista@oztrekk.com.