At the time I was exploring the possibility of studying Herbalism, Middlesex University announced the first University Degree Course in Herbal Medicine, so I decided to apply.
It was the only University Degree Course in Herbal Medicine available in Europe.
The clinical experience at the Archway Clinic and the dissertation project were both extremely interesting and challenging. They were both experiences that shaped me professionally and helped me really develop my future career.
Working as a masseur at the Campus, sharing interests with my colleagues and the never-ending discussions!
Be passionate about what you do and study hard.
It gave me a sense of what I could achieve on my own and the confidence to go ahead and achieve it.
I came from forestry studies and I knew how interesting plants were in terms of human health. I was interested in a degree and subsequent career that combined plants studies with clinical experience.
I don't think there are any cons really. I love what I do and over the years I have had the opportunity to expand the range of my interests and competencies. I have had to work hard to get where I am but that is not a bad thing.
Before graduating, I started writing articles for professional Journals in the UK and in Italy which helped me secure a position as a professional educator and a university lecturer later on in my career.
Since my return to Italy, it has become more difficult to work as a herbal practitioner, so I have focused on a career as an educator and as a consultant.
My voluntary work in Nicaragua. This involved developing a "green pharmacy" in the hills which gave me the opportunity to work in the field of international cooperation in an "underdeveloped" country. This experience definitely changed my perspective and increased the number of work opportunities open to me.
I hope to have more involvement with NGOs working with traditional medicine and diet. More generally, I hope to find more opportunities which allow me to apply my experience and knowledge in practical ethnopharmacological work, both in Mediterranean countries and elsewhere.
Don't be too relaxed with what you already know and always strive to know more.
When an opportunity comes up, be honest with yourself about your level of competency but always accept the challenge.
Always exercise your critical thinking and never accept compromises that would degrade your ethical standards: professionalism always pays and will make you feel better too.