Q&A with Caleb, an international trainee clinical psychologist (from University of Hertfordshire)

As the second Q&A article in this series, we have invited Caleb to share his journey of application and his thesis topic with us.


1. Where are you from? (Or how would you describe your cultural heritage?) I’m a Singaporean-Chinese from Singapore.

2. Which university and year are you in? I’m currently in my final year at the University of Hertfordshire.

3. What made you choose the university you are at now? Eg. Their ethos? Lower tuition fees? The city it is in? The interview experience? You got accepted and had no other options? I had one offer and one waitlist after interviews. I decided to go with this course based on location, not needing a car*, a good interview experience, and a good post-interview follow-up experience.

Caleb picked this photo to represent his 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? No. I did not do a masters as I was hoping to limit the amount of money and time spent on getting qualifications. Since Singapore has a Clinical Psychology Masters programme, I had intended to apply there if I wasn’t able to get on a DClinPsy programme.

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: 1 year volunteering for Paracanoeing training for children with physical and mental health conditions 3 months as a research assistant in the government ministry Clinical experience (if any): e.g. assistant psychologist, research assistant in clinical settings, volunteer at clinics or hospitals, ... 3 months as a research intern in clinical setting ~4.5 years as a Autism Therapist (in a school setting)




6. Is there any funding or scholarship you have applied for or known of, from your country? I did not apply for any scholarship, but I’ve heard that the National Council of Social Services (in Singapore) might provide scholarships.

7. Can you share a bit about your thesis and your reflections on the process and the findings? The topic is Decolonizing Clinical Psychology Training in Singapore: Trainee and Recently Qualified Psychologist views about diversifying therapeutic models. Reflections: My thesis is still at the beginning phases, but it fits in nicely with reflections about cultural differences which we have likely already been doing as international students. However, it is not an easy topic to engage with participants due to the research scope, and it is also challenging to engage with international supervisors & participants.



8. Any other things you would like to share with the aspiring trainee clinical psychologists? E.g. tips? Fun stories? Horrible stories? Although it wasn’t the top of my agenda when choosing a course (and understandably so when just getting onto a course is the top priority), I’ve come to realize that some degree of alignment with the course ethos can go a long way in helping to adjust to the course and fitting in with other trainees.


*For aspiring trainees: from the Clearing House (https://www.leeds.ac.uk/chpccp/Clin11Hertfordshire.html#selffund), it states that a driving license is a pre-requisite, but it is not clear that if this is a blanket pre-requisite for both home fees and international trainees. Please email the University of Hertfordshire for clarification if you are concerned.


Remarks:

As mentioned in the previous interview with Ayse, 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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