Martin has always dreamed of going overseas for further studies, but the realities of life as a doctor made fulfilling that dream a challenge. As a student, Martin’s main concern was for his family’s financial situation. Upon graduation, his role as a doctor meant he had very little free time. Nevertheless, he did not let his dream die, and began preparing for overseas studies. Martin started using whatever little gaps he could find in his busy work schedule to take lessons and look for the relevant information. Despite the challenges, Martin is always in preparation mode for his study overseas, for he believes that opportunities are reserved for those who are ready.

Seizing the timing; seizing the opportunity.

“Do you know that Taiwan scores No. 14 on the world chart of Hospice care quality and No. 1 in Asia?” Martin asks. Having been in the profession of Family Medicine Division for four years, Martin chanced upon hospice care through an internship and subsequently decided on hospice care as his speciality. “Being able to accompany the patient through the last few days of their life and to sense their peace before death gives you a sense of value fulfilment.” Nevertheless, Martin often faces many misunderstandings from the general public. “Public misconception has it that once you are sent to hospice care, you’ll never leave. Truth is, many can still go home as long as their conditions are under control.” Despite having an enviable job, Martin never gave up his desire to study abroad. Hearing from a colleague regarding an overseas course on hospice care and possible scholarship schemes, Martin was more than thrilled. “In my earlier days, when I wanted to study overseas, I could not see myself being financed by my parents as they were already paying for my sister. Once I embarked on my occupation as a professional doctor, my hands were tied. Before I knew it, seven years passed in a flash.” This time, Martin decided to give himself a chance to see the world and to learn more about hospice care.

Going abroad is the first step towards fulfilling dreams

The decision to go overseas set Martin off on a busy yet fulfilling rhythm of life. Besides taking care of the paper work for overseas study, he needed to find a relief doctor for his one-year sabbatical – as well as studying for IELTs around his work! “My sister chose to study here when she was preparing for her overseas study. Considering my sister’s positive experience and the reviews from on-line communities, I opted for an IELTS course here. With his limited free time, Martin started off knowing very little about IELTs, yet was able to achieve a 7.5 test score 2 months later. He commented: “You will not feel bored here. Despite my initial apprehension about interactive styles of teaching, perhaps due to me being used to the rote learning style of teaching, I found myself more at ease with expressing thoughts in English as the course progressed. I became clearer about the IELTS writing requirements and structures, and have also learned how to grasp key points in an article within a limited period of time.” Martin emphasized, “A conductive environment is a critical factor in preparing for IELTS tests.”

One step closer to his dreams

“Since coming here, I’ve got more comfortable about speaking up and have found a sense of familiarity in speaking English again.” After two months of full-English immersion, Martin is beginning to feel more confident about his speaking. He thinks that language is a communication tool, and the right environment will help you to rapidly integrate English into your life. Having achieved favourable results in his IELTS test, he subsequently delivered a speech in English an international conference at the end of April, and also attended a European hospice care conference in Denmark during early May. Although opportunities to practice English have decreased since the course ended, Martin is nevertheless determined to make good use of his spare time to immerse himself in an English speaking environment in order to prepare for future overseas studies.

Words for test takers

To those in preparation for the IELTs tests, Martin, who has demonstrated relentless faith in pursuing his dreams has this to say, “Carry on nurturing your dream. Have the courage to dream and the strength to pursue them.”