Ahmad Usama Ali Khan (right) obtained his degree of Doctor of Physical Therapy at the Riphah International University in Islamabad (Pakistan). Clara Senior Osafo Sasu (left) graduated as a BSc in Physiotherapy in 2015 from the University of Ghana in Accra (Ghana). Both are students of the Master of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy: Neurological Conditions.
You’ve both come a long way to study at the UAntwerp. What’s your story?
- Ahmad: “After obtaining my degree in 2015, I started working as a physiotherapist in the Shifa International Hospital in Islamabad. After that two friends and I started our own physiotherapy clinic in Multan: the Al-Rukha Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Center. During home visits I came across many patients with neurological conditions. I felt the need to refine and cultivate my competences, so I decided to leave our clinic and pursue a Master’s degree in Antwerp.”
- Clara: “I developed specific interest in neurorehabilitation during my voluntary service in the stroke center of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, the largest hospital in Ghana. I realized I needed more in-depth knowledge and decided to enrol in a postgraduate programme. However, I spent a lot of time searching for the appropriate training. I liked the idea of studying in Europe so my friend in Hasselt suggested the MSc programme with a major in neurological conditions at the UAntwerp. After a review on the university I knew I had finally found the right programme that goes in line with my future aspirations.”
What are your impressions of the Master programme so far?
- Ahmad: “We’re in our first year now and I must say that I am really satisfied with the programme. The teaching is student-centred and evidence-based. The tutors pay a lot of attention to individual students and provide scientific literature for a more comprehensive understanding of the subjects. This is a whole new approach for me and it intensifies my fascination for scientific research. I hope that my Master’s thesis on vestibular disorders in diabetes type 2 patients will eventually lead to a PhD .”
- Clara: “The programme is really well structured and the theoretical classes are stimulating. However, I still have to get used to attending lectures with more than 100 students. I had only 15 classmates in Ghana (laughs)! Right now I am doing a clinical traineeship in the University Hospital (UZA), which is really close to the ‘life sciences campus’ or Campus Drie Eiken. I am learning new techniques and different approaches every day, and the contact with the patients is smoother than I expected.”
What do you think of our city?
- Ahmad: “Antwerp is fantastic. I love the architecture and … “.
- Clara: “… the nightlife!”
- Ahmad: “You know me too well, Clara (laughs). I plead guilty: the nightlife here is exceptional! I have made tons of friends from all over the world at student parties. I’ve even seen my heroes Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike performing live. It was like a dream!”
- Clara: “I am a big fan of the movie theatres in the city centre and I love the central location of Antwerp. I have been to Maastricht and Ahmad already visited Paris and Amsterdam. My siblings can hardly believe it, but it’s true: I can ride a bike now. I learned it here by trial and error. No training wheels for me (laughs)!”
Any advice for future students?
- Ahmad: “Yes, learn Dutch. It will help you in your everyday life but also on campus. Atlas, the bureau for integration in Antwerp, is really helpful if you are looking for a Dutch language course.”
- Clara: “I definitely recommend this programme, but future students should know that this programme comprises more than merely a thesis. It is a demanding and advanced programme that includes many theoretical lessons as well. Commitment to study and a lot of determination are a must!”