Alumni profiles - Beth Halford

MSc (pre-reg) Physiotherapy

Self-funded volunteer physiotherapist, Nepal

Attending university made me a more disciplined and well rounded person and gave me a career path which is now allowing me to travel the world"

What are you currently doing and who are you working for?

I am currently a self-funded volunteer physiotherapist working in a school for disabled children in Kathmandu, Nepal. After graduating I worked for University Hospital North Staffordshire as a band five rotational physiotherapist for two and a half years before deciding to resign and travel abroad where I volunteered as a physiotherapist in a health clinic in Bodhgaya, India for three months.

When I finish in Nepal I will be travelling to Vietnam where I will volunteer before returning to Nepal to establish a health clinic in the high himalaya where they currently have no health care whilst training a rehabilitation worker and starting my own non-governmental organisation to help provide healthcare to those most in need out there.

Which course did you study at the University of Birmingham and how it benefited you?

I completed the two year Pre-reg MSc. It taught me a good foundation to then build upon once I started working. It also saved a precious year and finances which I can now use in my volunteering.

How did you find your first year in Birmingham?

I found the beginning of the course tough as my previous degree was psychology so I had limited knowledge of anatomy. Missing the grounding in anatomy made studying neuro and MSK really difficult and it was hard to find the time to catch up because I was so busy with the rest of the work.

How did going to University as a whole benefit you?

I had already completed a BSc so I was used to the university environment when I studied in Birmingham. I think attending university made me a more disciplined and well rounded person and gave me a career path which is now allowing me to travel the world whilst helping others. Sharing a house was a good test of patience and understanding!

How did you find campus life?

I didn't spend much time on the campus. As I was a postgrad student I'd already lived the student lifestyle elsewhere and opted for a quieter experience the second time around. However, I felt the university was very segregated from the city itself. It would have been nice to be more integrated with what was happening within the city and the communities there.

Did you join any student societies during your studies?

I regularly played squash and learnt to use sign language. With such an intensive course it was difficult to find time to do much else.

Any tips or words of wisdom that you would like to pass on to other students thinking of coming to study here?

Make use of all the opportunities made available to you. For most, it only happens once and you often don't realise how many there are until they are gone. Find the balance between work and play that's right for you and allows you to achieve what you're there for. Don't be afraid to have dreams and aspirations; always believe you can reach them.

What are your aspirations for the future?

To continue volunteering as a physiotherapist in developing countries providing training and treatment they often don't have. To set up and run an NGO that can improve healthcare in rural and urban Nepal where it's often scarce if not all together absent. When the money runs out I would like to combine NHS work with volunteering if possible.