“After coming here, all the practical exposure that I’m getting during placement is really rewarding to see that you’re doing something that’s actually making a change, helping someone so when I go to sleep at night I feel content and worthy of what I’m doing on a daily basis”
What is your name, your course and your nationality?
My name is Luthfa Khalid and I’m doing my master’s in Midwifery and I’m Indian but resided in Saudi Arabia from birth until I travelled to the UK.
When you decided to study, what made you choose the UK and Oxford Brookes?
When I looked into Midwifery, that’s a course I’ve been wanting to do for the past four years, and I did look into options to study in Saudi Arabia or India which wasn’t available. I really wanted to do the course and be the first one to get more people to do it from both countries, because it’s something we really need, all over the world for that matter. I looked into quite a few universities who would accept international students. I did apply to more than 16 universities in the UK and to get accepted into Midwifery you do need a lot of pre-requirements and I did have a Bachelor’s in Physical Therapy - completely not an identical course that I’ve done for my graduation. The few universities that accepted my previous graduation and my additional certification courses that I did and the work I did with pregnant women and birthing - one of the universities was Oxford Brookes. Then I had to make a choice. I spoke to a lot of students here, and the breakthrough point was the interview that I had. She made it so different and so easy. The interview was really smooth, they were very welcoming and I was the only international student that had an interview that day, and the only one from my cultural background as well but I didn’t feel odd or left out, I was made [to feel] welcome and that was the distinguishing point.
What do you enjoy the most or find most rewarding about your course?
Midwifery was something that I chose for myself, it wasn’t a course I chose just to create my career, it was something I really wanted to do. After coming here, all the practical exposure that I’m getting during placement is really rewarding to see that you’re doing something that’s actually making a change, helping someone so when I go to sleep at night I feel content and worthy of what I’m doing on a daily basis. In university, when you come as an international student you come with a lot of preconceived notions about what you will experience or what to expect from here. I was scared whether I’d be able to observe the way I dress or follow the faith that I’m believing in, but I didn’t face any of that over here. So, I enjoy practicing my faith and continuing with my culture, everything, without being the odd one out. No one looks down to me so that’s what I enjoy both at university and in placement.
Do you have any highlights or places you enjoy seeing in Oxford?
The place I’m living right now is very close to a park called Flo’s park. My son has just turned 6 and the biggest thing for me is that my son is settling in way better than I expected. That’s one place I go and work as well, it’s one of the best things I could ask for. It’s walking distance so I can go to the park and walk and I come back freshened up. It’s a place for both adults and youngsters, it’s one of the biggest points of Oxford I’ve found so far.
Can you tell me more about your course?
Since I’ve done a degree back in India, one thing I’ve been comparing is how it’s taught in different countries. Over here they take us through the theory very well and they put us in a practical to put into practice what we’ve learnt in the theory. Then you come back into theory again and go back into practice. That’s one thing that’s really stood out for me and it’s really helped me. In my Bachelor’s we did all theory first and then we get thrown into the practice but one of the best things over here is the supervisors. They are busy every second but they take time out to actually teach you, that’s one thing I really respect about the teaching system over here.
Do you have any advice for future international students?
I would definitely break down the finances - what you’d need financially, or find out where to look for accommodation, or where to buy your groceries. For the first 3 months it’s so crucial for someone international to settle down because they have already left their comfort zone and their family and everything, and then they’ve come here. Just to make that smooth I would love to have a breakdown of everything.
What are your future plans once you’ve graduated?
I’m definitely looking to get the post-study work visa because I really want to work here to get the experience. Even though you have 3 years [of study] and you’re learning so much, that two years when you’re not a student would make a humongous difference.