He said: “They fly me in and out – a trip of one hour’s duration each way – due to the geographical isolation of the region. Otherwise it is a nine-hour drive. The population of around 50,000 is 48 per cent Maori.
“We (the multidisciplinary team of three) attempt to stave off amputations and try to keep people from being admitted to hospital. I have been the lead podiatrist and only podiatrist in this role for the last six years.”
Simon’s dissertation was ‘Exploring the three great pathologies of diabetic foot disease through the lived experiences of New Zealand podiatrists: An interpretative phenomenological approach.’
He said: “I felt the experience in Brighton was overwhelmingly positive. I greatly enjoyed the culture of the University of Brighton, although the first week I was nervous due to cultural differences, but these soon evaporated.
“The design of the programme works well for those who need to study part-time and I like how the teaching part of each module can be ‘bookended’ with one week allocated for each module, which is ideal for distance learning, which in my case I took to the extreme.”
He offered advice to anyone considering the course: “Persistence, persistence, persistence is the key.
“I started this in August 2011 in New Zealand and credited the paper I did at Auckland University of Technology to the University of Brighton.
“I tried to do work, no matter how simple or complex, that represented a step or steps forward. On average I adopted this approach six to seven days per week.
“I also got better at asking for support. This meant the ‘donkey work’ of typing was done by my receptionist for all submitted work.”
He offered advice: “I would suggest students should hire a proof reader for the dissertation report. This is the singular best choice I made in terms of quality improvement over the entirety of the Masters programme.
“They will need two to three weeks to check your work which is approximately 15,000 words (the required length of the dissertation).”
His final piece of advice was: “Have a really strong reason to study a course of this nature, as this provides the deep-seated purpose and resolve to carry on when things get tough – which they most certainly do.
“A famous New Zealand broadcaster Sir Paul Holmes died around the time I began my course, so I wrote a quote relating to some advice for life he provided in his ember days which still rings true for me.
“‘Good luck to you all but make your own luck. If you can dream it, begin it.’"
"Well, Sir Paul, l followed your advice and it worked.”