Moving abroad to study is a huge step for anyone. Add a global pandemic to the mix and the situation can get a little more complicated. But Canning College student Carina Yap is proof that, despite the challenges, things can work out really well.
Hailing from Singapore, Carina graduated from junior college in her home country. Afterwards, she decided to seek out international study, so she set her sights on a physiotherapy degree at Curtin University in Perth.
“I was interested in becoming a physiotherapist due to my interest in sports after years on the school basketball team,” she says. “I wanted to find out more about pursuing physiotherapy as a career and chanced upon a three-month course that prepared people to become therapy assistants in the allied health area.”
She worked as a therapy assistant in a physiotherapy department before arriving in Australia. Her experience demonstrated how physiotherapy extends beyond sport and also deepened her desire to help patients. It was her colleagues who advised her to consider studying in Australia, as the rehabilitation scene is well-established and highly regarded around the world.
“I decided to study at Canning College, as it offered a pathway into the Bachelor of Science (Physiotherapy) course at Curtin University.”
Carina shares that it was initially difficult to adjust to life in Australia, due to the nature of how things unfolded.
“I was supposed to arrive in Perth in April with my mother, and had booked flights and an Airbnb,” she says.
However, the closure of borders in mid-March due to COVID-19 changed everything. She made the last-minute decision to fly to Perth alone and altered plans that were already in place. Luckily, Carina had support from Canning College throughout the process.
“I had reassurance from Canning College that the teachers would do everything they can to assist me in my schoolwork and help me catch up to the rest of my peers,” she says.
Carina joined the April intake for the WA Universities’ Foundation Program. A considerable benefit of the program is the flexible start dates offered to students.
“The assurance that Canning College would make things happen if I were to fly played a big part in my decision of coming over within half a day,” she says.
Carina’s support network pulled through during her isolation period. “I had a friend studying at Curtin University, and he prepared two weeks’ worth of groceries for me before I arrived and delivered my textbooks so I could study and catch up on work during the isolation period,” she says.
The Canning College team also kept in touch to ensure she was OK and to help her settle in. “My teachers gave me their contact numbers so that I could ask them if I had any doubts or queries about my work,” Carina says.
Carina also celebrated a big birthday while in Australia: “I think turning 21 during the isolation period was quite unforgettable and symbolic.”