–Moreover, the course list was a big motivator to apply. When I browsed through the list, I thought “that’s exactly what I need to improve my opportunities to find a job”. So, I didn’t hesitate but applied immediately.
After the somewhat spontaneous decision, she was happy to receive a notification of acceptance and a scholarship and started a new chapter in life in the far North – as a person who had never experienced minus degrees or heavy snow.
–I was really curious about life in the Scandinavian countries, so moving to Kuopio was very exciting.
Valuable internship experiences
For a visual person like Ratibah, learning in practice has been the best part – seeing the daily duties and the ordinary workday of the medical physicist in the hospital, and the issues they might face and how to solve them.
–I feel thankful and lucky to have been selected as an intern for three different internships in different departments at Kuopio University Hospital (Clinical Radiology , Clinical Physiology and Neurophysiology, and Radiation Therapy) during my studies. Each of them was nicely organized, and I gained really special experiences either through observing various procedures or doing some quality assurance measurements and treatment planning myself.
Ratibah sees the internships as a very important bridge between the previously gained theoretical knowledge and the reality in the hospitals.
–I think that might be described as a bridge between the visual side of the brain and the knowledge side! When we read something or hear about a new thing, we might not understand it until we observe someone doing it or try it ourselves. The internships and visual practice have helped me to get a clearer idea about many things.
One of the highlights of the internships was when Ratibah got to create a treatment plan for a breast cancer patient.
–I had taken many trials, and then my supervisor checked it and finally said " Yes, that's now acceptable". You really understand that your skills can have a huge impact in many people’s lives.
What she also values about the studies and internships at UEF is the honesty in knowledge transfer between people.
–Hard work alone doesn't guarantee success. It’s also about the potential to cooperate, to be honest to transfer specific knowledge to others and to work in teams. My endless thanks go to all the lecturers and internship supervisors for the genuine connections they make with their students, their humbleness, and their willingness to help whenever they can.
Ratibah has noticed that she has gained many other kinds of skills outside medical physics during her university studies.
–Many of my skills, like presentation skills, critical thinking as well as research and teamwork skills have greatly improved during these two years. Therefore I honestly think that studying in this kind of programme and the whole atmosphere here has met and exceeded my expectations as well as my scientific and educational needs.
Science & storyboards
Apart from internships, Ratibah mentions a course that was especially memorable – and potentially very useful in the future.
–The course Medical Approval Process was interesting and "different”, because it was my first time studying a medical topic from a legal point of view. We learned about the whole process of releasing new medical devices in the market. During the course we made many presentations, and the most intriguing for me was the one about the medical approval process in the Middle East. The information I collected was surprising and insightful.
Ratibah is soon graduating, but her plans are already somewhat clear.
–I’m planning to continue working in the medical field and radiation therapy as a medical physicist, trying to put all the gained experience into practice to further improve my skills. I’m really looking forward to helping my society as much as I can.
She is thankful for the programme that helped her discover her potential.
–It has improved my vision and helped me to discover my strengths, interests and weaknesses. Whether you want to continue as a researcher or a medical physicist in the hospital setting, this programme is a perfect choice.
Also the much-expected experience of living in the North was something that she will remember long.
–Overall, it was a nice experience and chance to meet such warm-hearted people at the UEF, both personnel and lecturers. I will surely miss Kuopio and also the friends that I made from different cultures and backgrounds, which was another kind of “knowledge enrichment experience". Kuopio is a really nice city, very calm, but it has all the facilities anyone might need. Also the UEF campus provides an extremely well-equipped and motivating atmosphere to do “almost everything” in a very comfortable and productive manner.
The only downside she can think of is the darkness in the winter.
–It made me feel like “there’s no time to do anything” before it gets dark. But eventually it’s a natural thing and you can enjoy the winter by going to different natural places or trying out winter sports that are not so popular in many countries. You can also attend many student activities that are organised on campus or in the city.
Ratibah also recommends continuing your hobbies also in the new environment.
–Drawing, writing and reading have always been a part of my life, so I guess life wouldn’t be meaningful without them and they have already played a big role in forming my mind and character. Now I work as a storyboard artist as well, so it’s the perfect balance for the scientific job as a medical physicist!