International Student – 2nd year studying Naturopathy & Herbal Medicine

International Student Solène, from France, talks about being in her 2nd year of the her Bachelor of Naturopathic and Herbal Medicine.

Solène, you are a Year 2 Naturopathic and Herbal Medicine Student, can you tell what you are learning in year 2 of you Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine degree

As second year students, we are preparing to go into clinicals at the end of the year and next year. Therefore we are focusing strongly on pathophysiology and health assessment so we can start recognising signs and symptoms in our clients. We also study nutrition to understand the role of diet on a patient’s wellbeing, both as a cause of illness and as a way to restore health. Herbalism also comes in to support the clients in their journey.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learnt this term?

Learning to broaden my mind to all the elements that can affect a person’s health has been very rewarding. For each case study we go through, we need to think of all the influences, whether it be genetics, infection, lifestyle or even mental trauma. This is what naturopathy is about after all: it promotes a holistic approach of the patient.

Is there any area of health and Wellness that you’d like to specialise in?

Not yet! Right now I am still fascinated by everything I learn, no single subject stands out. I think specialisation will be influenced by the people I meet in clinicals.

Why do you think more people are becoming interested in taking a natural approach to health?

Because we live longer but not necessarily better. Autoimmune diseases that were almost never heard of a few decades ago are now becoming more common. The western medical system was built to deal with acute diseases and injuries but is often at loss when faced with chronic diseases. I think that is where naturopathy comes in; a lot of our recommendations sometimes seem like common sense, and yet many call it Grandma’s remedies, as if it had become an ancient knowledge that needs to be rediscovered.

What do you think the biggest health concern is facing the world right now?

We have so many options to choose from, in term of food and lifestyle, that moderation is not part of our world anymore. Overeating, overindulging (sugar, I’m looking at you…!) has become quite normalised but can lead to many diseases, like diabetes, atherosclerosis, autoimmune diseases and so on.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give anyone thinking about coming to New Zealand to Study Natural Health?

It is a hard decision to make for sure, but once you have thought about all it entails and are still motivated, do not let fear stand in your way and go for it! New Zealand is a very welcoming place and nature is such an important part of the culture and everyday life that studying Natural Health here feels right.

You are from France. What do you miss most about home?

My family and friends! The French cuisine as well! I’m not that good of a cook, so it is difficult for me to recreate traditional meals! And many products and brands cannot be found here of course.

Your New Zealand “Must do” list would include

Favourite beach = Takapuna Beach

Favourite Café = The Garden Shed in Mt Eden

Favourite place to go shopping = all the shops in Ponsonby!

Favourite place in Auckland = Mount Eden and Waiheke Island

Favourite place outside of Auckland = Wai-O-Tapu in Rotorua for the North Island. Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park for the South Island.