Q&A with Ayse, a graduated international clinical psychologist (from University of Essex)

Updated: Dec 20, 2021

A lot of you might be interested to know what kind of prior education or working experience would help international applicants to secure a place in the DClinPsy programme. Yet, we realised that there is no definite answer after we started this platform. In the coming series, we have invited a number of current trainees/ graduates who would like to share their different routes to secure a place in the training, and any suggestions given to current trainees.


1. Where are you from? (Or how would you describe your cultural heritage?)

Turkey


2. Which university and year are you in?

I graduated from the University of Essex last year and am currently working as a qualified CP.


3. What made you choose the university you are at now? E.g. Their ethos? Lower tuition fees? The city it is in? The interview experience? There was no other option?

I had two offers at the time: Leicester and Essex. On paper, their ethos looked similar which also aligned with my own values. At that time the course was called “University of Essex - Tavistock” and they had a partnership which allowed trainees to get some teaching from Tavi. There was also the opportunity to do the final year placement at Tavi as well.


I chose Essex because I really enjoyed the interview process and the course staff seemed warm and open. I was living in London during that time and I was quite concerned about commuting. However, after a phone call with the programme lead I learnt that some students lived in London and commuted and that was possible. Financially, I am sponsored by my country’s scholarship programme so tuition fees were lower on my priority list, but I think Essex’s fees were cheaper in comparison to other courses.


Ayse picked this photo to represent her pre-qual journey.


4. Do you have a master's degree? If yes, which field is it in? Where did you do it? Why did you do a masters? If no, what made you decide not to study masters?

I hold a MSc in Mental Health Studies, IoPPN, King’s College London.

My scholarship included master’s and doctorate education, and I wanted to experience the UK education system before starting the doctorate.



5. What work experience do you have prior to the training? Both voluntary and paid work are counted (starting from the most recent in chronological order)

  • General work experience:

I worked as a teacher in a life-long programme for 6 years. I spent two years working full-time the rest part-time.


  • Clinical experience (if any): e.g. assistant psychologist, research assistant in clinical settings, volunteer at clinics or hospitals, ...

I shadowed a psychiatrist in my master’s placement once a day every week for 6 months, which was the only UK experience I got before starting the doctorate.

Before coming to the UK, I worked two years as an assistant expert psychologist at a Turkish ministry.

Prior to that, I had two volunteer placements during my Psychology undergrad: one in a clinical and research hospital and the other one was at a kindergarten.



6. Is there any funding or scholarship you have applied for or known of, from your country?

Yes, there is a scholarship called YLYS offered by the Turkish Ministry of National Education, and I was required to go back to the country after graduation. The scholarship covers the entirety of the tuition fees and gives you a modest monthly stipend for maintenance fees.


7. Can you share a bit about your thesis and your reflections on the process and the findings?

I researched understandings and experiences of common mental health difficulties of Turkish-speaking people in the UK. I enjoyed the process and came across many prejudices in literature against Turkish-speaking migrants and explored my own biases, too. It was a pleasure to unpick those and link it with racism/orientalism literature.





8. Any other things you would like to share with the aspiring trainee clinical psychologists?

E.g. tips? Fun stories? Horrible stories?


To aspiring CPs:

Before applying, make sure you have an understanding of psychology and the mental health system in the UK and each service can have a different understanding and the way of work. In Turkey, healthcare is centralised so you find similar treatment wherever you go but in the UK it can differ from one area to another, don’t think the first service you see represents the whole UK mental health.


To current trainees:

I recommend choosing something small and something you would enjoy for your thesis. Don’t get too ambitious. The best thesis is a done thesis.


One of the reasons I chose Turkish-speaking people was because I knew I could reach potential participants. As an international trainee, I have never worked in the UK before and did not have connections with services where I could conduct my research. I noticed that my cohort also went with the projects either lecturers advertised or got in touch with their previous services to recruit while working on a topic they were already familiar with.



Remarks:

Thank you Ayse for sharing her experience of preparing for the application and her journey of the programme. As Ayse has mentioned, there might be scholarships available in your home country or the universities that you are applying to, feel free to query related personnel (usually Department of Education in your home country, or Funding/ Finance Department in the desired universities) for more information.

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