Students will be employed: Drew Warwick-Smith was recruited as a part-time lecturer at SAMK right after graduating

Drew Warwick-Smith first got interested in physiotherapy while working for the Royal Navy. Now he is a part-time lecturer at Satakunta University of Applied Sciences.

11.11.2021 | By: Veera Iisakkala | Photo: Tarja Javanainen-Levonen and Drew Warwick-Smith

Drew Warwick-Smith teaching in the Agora hall.

Drew has been happy with his experience both as a student and as a teacher.

SAMK is the only Nordic university which offers a Bachelor-level degree in Physiotherapy in English. The yearly intake of students is 26. After graduation students are entitled to use the occupational title Physiotherapist.

Drew Warwick-Smith has lived in Finland on and off since 2008. He graduated from high school in Australia and worked in the Royal Navy before graduating from SAMK. The Royal Navy offered physiotherapy for the soldiers. Drew got interested in it when he saw physiotherapists working there. His native language is English, so he decided to apply for the English Physiotherapy degree programme at SAMK.

– The competition is intense because this is the only Physiotherapy Degree in the Nordic countries in English. However, I felt I had a good chance of being accepted. I applied and got in. The whole process was very smooth.

Practical learning

Drew liked his teachers and how the courses were executed:

– Studying at SAMK was a great experience, the teachers gave me good ideas and I got to develop myself. The teaching was professional, and students were well instructed. One of my favorite courses was TULES, a course where we learnt about rehabilitation possibilities for people with musculoskeletal conditions. The course was well constructed and was all and all very interesting.

Teaching and studying at SAMK is very versatile. The degree programme in Physiotherapy includes theoretical studies but also a lot of practical studies. Students get to try things in practice during their studies. Drew thinks this was one of the best parts:

– Studying at SAMK is very hands-on. We got to try things out in practice while studying. Practical training happens in a real-life work environment as well.

From a student to a teacher

Drew graduated in the fall of 2021. Just then one of the lecturers was about to take sick leave for a couple of months. One of Drew’s lecturers recommended him as a substitute teacher.

– I had just graduated, and I was pleasantly surprised when I was approached for the job. I didn’t have teaching experience so to say, but I have been coaching a national rugby team in Finland for 12-13 years. So, teaching came naturally as well and other lecturers had faith in me.

Drew coaching a rugby team in Qatar.

Drew coaching a rugby team in Qatar.

Drew was ready to take on the challenge:

– This is a great opportunity. I did feel some pressure to do well because the lecturer I am substituting is very experienced. I wanted to do a good job. I think so far so good, everything has gone well.

Drew finds the actual teaching situations the best part of being a lecturer. The job also contains a lot of work “behind-the-scenes", like preparing lectures, reviewing materials and grading.

– The most rewarding part is seeing the students’ development and being part of that process myself.

Learning Finnish

SAMK’s Physiotherapy degree consist of using some Finnish. Therefore, graduates have a good chance of being employed in Finland. Drew’s Finnish skills improved while studying at SAMK. He has also taught in Finnish:

– Even though I’ve practiced a lot, I sometimes still don’t know how I manage to find the right words in Finnish. It just happens! When I teach in Finnish, I make sure the students understood what I meant. They usually answer: “of course!” That feels great. I think it helps a lot if you’re brave enough to just use the language, even if you aren’t completely certain you’re saying everything correctly. Just talk and do your best.

Drew noticed how different it is to use a foreign language in day-to-day life, as a student or as a teacher:

– The vocabulary is different of course, but the ways you use the language change too when you have a different role.

A Unique Experience

Drew has been happy with his experience both as a student and as a teacher:

SAMK is a very friendly environment and I’ve got support whenever I needed it. I haven’t been left alone at all.

Drew is planning to work as a full-time physiotherapist once his contract at SAMK comes to an end.

– I’m interested in everything in physiotherapy, and next I think I’m going to do physiotherapy full-time. Teaching at SAMK has been a unique experience and I would definitely be a teacher again in the future if the opportunity presents itself.

Interested in Physiotherapy degree?

Next application period for the Physiotherapy degree: 5 January - 16 February 2022

Drew Warwick-Smith.

Drew Warwick-Smith

  • Graduated from the degree programme in Physiotherapy the fall of 2021
  • From Australia
  • Coaches a national rugby team in Finland
  • Works as a a part-time lecturer in physiotherapy at SAMK.

11.11.2021 | By: Veera Iisakkala | Photo: Tarja Javanainen-Levonen and Drew Warwick-Smith

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