Laying the foundations for success at ACU

Before started his ACU degree, Dhravil completed the Foundation Studies course - and it prepared him for life at university.

You started in the ACU Foundation Studies course before progressing to the Bachelor of Physiotherapy. How did Foundation Studies prepare you to succeed at university?

What I gained from Foundation Studies is my understanding of what university is like in Australia. I really needed those English units, those research units, to be able to excel in my bachelor's degree. International students often don't have research experience, but research is something that universities in Australia put more emphasis on. When I started my bachelor's degree, I saw a couple of students who didn't have a research background struggling with the assessments, but because I'd done Foundation Studies, I had the skills I needed.

You also did a lot of presentations as part of your Foundation Studies. Tell us about that.

The Foundation Studies course was three semesters, and every semester we had one English unit that focused on listening skills, a writing unit that helped us develop our academic writing skills, and a unit on how to give presentations - coming from a non-English speaking background, learning to deliver a presentation in English is really important. These three concepts are are really helpful when you start your university studies, and they also give you a feel for what your course is going to be like.

How did your Foundation Studies teachers support your learning?

They gave individual attention to all the students. They would go to every student and make sure they understand everything. I've never seen that in any university course. And these lecturers would also have discussions amongst themselves to track students' progress, and towards the end of the semester when the exams were approaching, they'd ask things like, 'How are you going with your studies? Do you feel confident?' That gave the students a boost.

You've now started your Bachelor of Physiotherapy, and you recently completed your first clinical placement. Tell us about that experience.

From what I know, ACU has some of the best connections with the health science industry. I got a placement at one of the best hospitals in Melbourne. Because I'm in first year, it was an observational placement. It really showed me how many opportunities there are in a physio career. You can go into neuro-physiotherapy, you can work in an orthopaedic ward, you can work in ICU, you can work with athletes or with older people. I'm just trying to explore all the different fields before I choose which one I want to go into.

You're based at the ACU Ballarat campus. Tell us about Ballarat - what's it like to study and live there?

Ballarat was a massive change for me. I was in Melbourne for my Foundation Studies and I heard from other people that Ballarat is really cold - and oh my god, it's freezing! But it's a nice little city. It's beautiful. The campus is interesting and it has great physiotherapy facilities, including the anatomy lab, the body mechanics lab and the neurology lab There aren't many international students here, so it has been a good experience getting to know the local students. They're really friendly and always up for a chat!

If you don't meet the entry requirements for your chosen ACU degree, our Foundation Studies courses can help you build the skills and confidence to succeed at university. Talk to our international student support team for more information today.

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