Sunday, January 24, 2010

Frequently Asked Questions about Studying Traditional Chinese Medicine at UTS

FAQs studying TCM at UTS:

Do you have to know/speak Chinese (Mandarin) to study?

No. The UTS TCM course is in English and there are numerous texts in English too.

You are not Chinese, why are you studying this?

Yes and because I appreciate it and I don’t have to be Chinese to understand and practice this!

Are your teachers Chinese (read: Your subject is Chinese, your teachers should be Chinese)?

Some. Some are Chinese and some are Anglo Saxon and some are from other nationalities!

Do you meditate?

Yes, and not just while watching TV.

They do that at UTS, how long???

Yes, 16 years. The course started at UTS in 1994 and was established from an independent college called Acupuncture Colleges (Australia), that had been running for 25 year previously to that.

How did you get interested in TCM?

I personally have had TCM treatments that helped me. Before that I had studied yoga and was teaching yoga and I had established an interest in Eastern philosophies. From all that I found out about the course and decided to go for it!

What is your experience of studying TCM at UTS?

I love it and hate it! It’s the hardest thing I have ever done. However I get a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction from it and helping people is what motivates me!

Why are you studying at UTS and not…China, Western Sydney etc?

I wanted to study somewhere close to home and that was it at the time of enrolment!

Should I enroll right after HSC?

You have to do what feels right. Balance all the things you want and need and ask yourself: do I want to be poor for 4 years in a row and possibly longer!?

What age range attends, is everybody younger than you?

Any and no! The interesting thing about UTS TCM is the broad range of ages on the course. It includes straight from school leavers who may not even be 18 yet all the way up to fifty year olds. It encompasses so many different situations of people from single mums, family people, working people, people living at home still, non working and so on. There are definitely some western medicine types in my year: a few nurses, one doctor (well not a real doctor, but a dentist…) It’s very diverse.

How do you find the lecturers and the teaching standard in UTS?

It comes down to knowledge and personality on both sides and that is all a very individual reflection. As a whole the lecturers know a lot! They are in a world of TCM and they know all about it! Whether they answer your questions, well some do and some don’t! There are always the books…

What is the course structure?
Roughly it is one third Chinese medicine, one third western medicine and one third practical application.

How confident would students feel in their knowledge of their Chinese herbal medicine aspect?

It’s great to have herbs as part of the course. Some people get herbs straight away, for others it’s a slow process. And others couldn’t care less as they won’t be using them in practice. If someone is studying and they pass and they don’t even care, there is hope! I love herbs and I stick to it. It’s taken me a long time to understand the concepts and ideas though.

What do you think of learning TCM in English as opposed to learning in Chinese? What about studying of the classic texts? Are they available?

It’s fine. Ok. So you are dealing with a translation. These are done to a high standard and the ideas of TCM are well understood really. In the case of classic texts: in all probability the original was reworked and changed over the centuries anyway. I guess it’s cool to say you read the original yourself and then translated it yourself. There is a sense of getting close to the original information. That original information can be difficult to understand anyway though. Either way your developing, comparing and understanding information all the time.

When do you start getting practical experience....are there a good variety of cases students can see at UTS clinic?

At the start and yes. From first semester we observe treatments with the general public. Later we take case histories and do our own diagnosis and talk to the practitioner about how they will treat. In the fourth and final year we do internship clinic where we do needling and herbal prescriptions for the general public ourselves under practitioner observation. The patients that come in are many and varied!

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