"My favourite thing about my time at Surrey was getting to know the international community of students. I met people from all over the world; from more countries than I knew."
My student life
The choice to study at Surrey was actually made for me! The Singapore Public Service Commission made my application. They chose Surrey because of the course content, the duration, and also reputation as they had sent other students before.
Up to this day, I think the course we had provided us with a good balance of time in the lecture rooms, labs, and clinical placements. For the course I was in, we spent a minimum of four full weeks in each specialised area. For some other areas, we even spent six weeks. I could learn and not feel rushed - that was the best part of the course when I was there.
The academic staff were great, especially those from our department. I was one of two international students and the lecturers were very supportive and very encouraging. They were definitely knowledgeable and experts in their respective fields. As a student, I couldn't help but be immersed in their enthusiasm.
My favourite thing about my time at Surrey was getting to know the international community of students. I met people from all over the world; from more countries than I knew. I still keep in touch with some of them as they have become close friends to this day. Our classmates were also from various parts of the UK and all of us being away from home, mostly for the first time, made it easy to make friends. Campus life was definitely memorable.
I lived on campus in my first and final year. There was one payphone for us to use – this was before everyone had cell phones! My housemate used to find it fascinating when he saw how fast I used up the credit on the phone. I had to keep putting in coins. We took turns to cook, and often sat at the dining tables together to eat. We got to know friends of our housemates and even had a big Christmas dinner one year.
There are a few songs that take me back to my student life:
- Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall – they played this during an event at the Student Union
- Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive
- Peggy Lee’s Fever - this one was a song shared by friends I hung out with on campus in the final year
- Ed Sheeran’s Castle on the Hill is a newer song that always reminded me of life in Guildford.
Adventures after graduating
After graduating, I went back to Singapore to work. It was an eight-year contract I had to fulfil because I received the scholarship to study at Surrey. I was given the opportunity to rotate between specialities until I decided to specialise in diabetes education. I did diabetes education as a nurse clinician for a few years, and then I tried my hand at programme management. Eventually, I returned to ward work because I missed the interaction with patients.
After 12 years of nursing in Singapore, I moved to Canada for a job offer. I now work as a registered nurse at the University of Alberta Hospital, providing direct patient care.
Nursing is very versatile. I get to meet so many different people. There is a learning opportunity at every shift, so much so that no two days are exactly the same.
Looking back I am most proud that after many years of working in my first place of work, I uprooted myself, travelled alone halfway across the world, and started over.
If I had to describe my career in three words, it would be 'best decision ever!'.
Looking to the past to inspire the future
We're celebrating 40 years of nursing at Surrey, Discover more stories from our nursing graduates through the decades.