31 July 2018

“Reviewing the evidence base for ‘total communication’ therapies for people with aphasia.” This is the title of my research, under the direction of Dr Julie Morris and Dr Janet Webster of the Education, Communication & Language Sciences of the Newcastle University, United Kingdom.

I am Joyce Chee Chzi Ching, a blessed and proud Sunway College A-Level graduate of July 2014 intake. I was among the 11 medical students in Stage 2 of the Newcastle University, branch campus Malaysia, selected to receive the Research Scholarship 2018 Award which comprises of a maintenance grant of £1200 and a £300 flight allowance to the United Kingdom. The scholarship was awarded based on our academic achievements and the potential of the research project. 

joyce.jpg

This Research Scholarship Award is truly a blessing and a door to many eye-opening experiences for me. When I first arrived in the UK, I was very excited to start off with my research. In the first week, there were an extensive amount of referencing and researching. I read a numerous count of articles and journals. Researching the field of communication therapy is not exactly related to the course of my studies in university which is medicine, although it applies but not entirely. It was a whole new challenging but yet interesting experience! The challenge became more intensified as I learned various technical terms and had a difficult time understanding them thoroughly. After much hard work and continuous cycles of self-study online and at library, I eventually grasped the gist of the study. Throughout the process, I have learned to become more independent and resourceful in problem solving and overcoming situations. The satisfaction is priceless and unforgettable.

Frequent meetings with my supervisors to exchange ideas and discuss about the articles involve a great deal of verbal communications. Although I speak well in English but my mother tongue has always been Mandarin. Worried if I was able to express myself well enough as I speak to native speakers of English, I prepared my ideas into points to be delivered prior to the meetings. Before long I realised that I was able to speak more confidently.

As time passed, the workload increases and stress also multiplies. I was assigned to my own working space in Newcastle and managed my time to complete my jobs as scheduled. Balancing between work and personal life is quite challenging. The freedom of working on my own has trained me to be more responsible. Deciding on the priority of different tasks rationally was an important daily decision. Daily plans for the next day and even making plans for the week ahead has become a very crucial and ritual process for me now!

25th July marked the last week of my project and I am thankful for all the help and guidance that I have received from my colleagues and supervisors throughout the research. I am writing my research findings and preparing my poster presentation now. To sum up, perseverance and determination have helped me through all the obstacles but Sunway College A-Level was definitely where my academic core foundation was groomed and developed. It is a quality education with a perfect environment and very supportive lecturers such as Ms Sharon Kong, Ms Rachel Tai, Ms Tan Menh Chooi and Mr Khoo Boo Hin. I wouldn't have achieved my results any more perfect than here at Sunway College. A-Level programme is undoubtedly challenging but with all the support that I have received, the challenges were my motivation that kept me aiming high and moulded me into who I am today!