Class of 2023: Lifelong Learning Never Stops


Physiotherapy graduates Joyce Foo (left) and Valora Wong are both advocates of lifelong learning and champions of mid-career switches. They are ready to pursue their passions and make a difference in patients' lives.  

Valora and Joyce

Both Joyce and Valora are proud SIT graduates who are fulfilling their dreams as physiotherapists. (SIT Photo: Keng Photography/Hah Zengmin)

Joyce Foo has always believed in doing things that have a positive impact on others. Since completing her first degree in Biology at the National University of Singapore in 2002, she was drawn to outreach and teaching jobs. Her previous work stints at NParks, Nanyang Technological University, the British High Commission, the World Wide Fund for Nature, and Republic Polytechnic reflected this.

After teaching piano for seven years, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, which affected her teaching schedule. That was when she decided to fulfil one of her childhood ambitions to become a physiotherapist.

In 2020, Joyce embarked on the Career Conversion Programme (CCP), a scheme which encourages mid-career individuals to undergo skills conversion and switch to new jobs or sectors.

Reliving University Life All Over Again

Having studied Biology in her undergraduate days, Joyce was able to accelerate her studies and complete her Physiotherapy degree programme, a joint degree offered by SIT and Trinity College Dublin (TCD), in three years – one year earlier than the normal duration. The accelerated programme meant that she could start work as a physiotherapist sooner, but it also meant taking more modules per trimester. Nonetheless, Joyce persevered, thanks to the supportive lecturers who mentored her throughout her studies.For the 44-year-old, being able to head back to school again was something she relished. “It felt like a chance to re-live my university days,” said Joyce with a smile. Making new friends and working with them during clinical placements was one of the highlights of her university experience.


Joyce Foo (second from right) with her classmates on their neuro clinical placement at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. (Photo: Joyce Foo)

After graduating from the Accelerated Physiotherapy programme, Joyce finally fulfilled her aspirations. She is now a physiotherapist at Ang Mo Kio Thye Hua Kwan Hospital, rehabilitating patients and helping them regain their mobility.

Taking the Leap of Faith

Ex-army medic Valora Wong, another SIT-TCD Physiotherapy graduate, is also no stranger to mid-career changes. A few years ago, Valora witnessed her husband switch jobs from an army serviceman to a care staff in an eldercare centre. Witnessing her husband’s love for his job made her consider exploring a different career path within the healthcare sector too. 

When she met some of his colleagues, Valora asked if job shadowing opportunities were available. To her delight, she landed a two-day stint at a day rehabilitation centre to observe the physiotherapy team in action.  

Moved by her job shadowing experience, Valora began exploring her career options in healthcare. She was pleased to learn that SIT offers a physiotherapy degree programme and CCP for allied health professionals. Hence, she decided to embark on the CCP.

However, returning to school as an adult learner was nerve-wracking for Valora, who is in her 30s. Her first year of university coincided with her house move, which saw her juggling assignments and studying for exams amid settling renovations for her new home. 

At the start of Year 3, Valora discovered she was expecting her first child. She was determined to graduate on time and not let her pregnancy disrupt her studies. Throughout her pregnancy, she did not ask for extensions on assignments or her final thesis. She managed to keep up with the course schedule while completing her clinical placements.


Valora (centre, in white top) with her peers and colleagues at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital while serving her clinical placement (Photo: Valora Wong)

Valora’s journey as a mid-career switcher was not in vain. She recently graduated and has secured a job as a physiotherapist in the same community hospital as her husband. 


Valora with her family at her graduation in October 2023. (SIT Photo: Keng Photography/Hah Zengmin)

Happy Endings to Their Hard-fought Journey

Being able to step into the healthcare profession is something which both Joyce and Valora cherish.Drawing on her experience as a student, Joyce shares her advice to those who are unsure if a mid-career change is the right path for them to take: “While it is hard to be 100% sure of what you are in for, making an informed decision and having a clear purpose of why you’re taking this leap is key to staying committed. This is what keeps me going when I have doubts.”

For mid-career professionals looking to transition into providing rehabilitative care, Valora’s advice is to make an informed decision and explore with an open mind. “Learning never stops. If you’ll never try, you’ll never know. Embrace change and be changed!”

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