Tomaz Matelic, BSc (Hons) Chinese Medicine: AcupunctureHow LSBU is helping a former snowboarding star to carve out a second successful career for himself
Tomaz Matelic is a man who is used to achieving his goals. A keen snowboarder, he was part of the Slovenian national team and took part in the world championships, as well as completing undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Lubljana.
After graduating, Tomaz worked as a sports trainer and manager, specialising in alpine sports, and travelled some of the world's leading ski resorts as a result – working in Austria, Italy, Canada and the USA along the way.
In the course of his career, Tomaz found himself working alongside some of the best athletes in the world, and came to realise that the majority of the issues they faced related to pain. "My athletes would often complain about the pain arising from various health issues, which was what inhibited their performances," he says. "Such injuries can change a sportsman's career, induce early retirement and lead to problems in later life, so I began to consider the best ways to cure pain without side effects."
Tomaz's research led him to decide on a career in acupuncture. "When my own professional sports career came to an end in Australia, I decided I wanted a new career," he says. "I wanted to do something that would still give me flexibility and mobility, but would allow me to continue working with people whether they were involved in sports or not."
"LSBU was the natural choice for me," Tomaz continues. "I wanted to study in English as that would improve my own grasp of the language, but the fact that LSBU's acupuncture degree is accredited by the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board made my mind up for me. London's also just two hours away from Venice by air, and I live near to Venice and can get home without too much hassle." Tomaz's international experience means he knows how valuable a degree from a British university is. "It increases my employability, reliability and my quality," he says.
I was actually accepted by four different universities, but was so impressed by LSBU that I turned down the other offers and came here. I just had a good feeling about the place after my phone interview, and I've definitely been proven right.
Tomaz's global employability is boosted even further by our links with Chinese acupuncture experts via the Confucius Institute for Traditional Chinese Medicine and Habin University. "The chance to learn from Chinese doctors and UK practitioners means that LSBU students can adopt different styles of acupuncture, while the small group sizes mean you get to know everyone, as well as having more interaction with your mentors," says Tomaz.
Support, help and guidance
"The lecturers don't put you under too much pressure and stress you out," says Tomaz of the academic team on his course. "They offer support, help and guidance at all times, and the facilities are all new which gives us great experience of the kind of environment we might find ourselves working in once we graduate."
Currently in his second year, Tomaz has set typically high expectations for himself upon graduation. "I'd love to work on a cruise ship, travelling by sea and visiting warm climates before deciding where I'd like to settle," he says. "Working in a clinic or spa on a coastline or fairy-tale island where I can enjoy the sea and sun every day would be fantastic – and when I'm bored of that, it'll be time to embrace the challenge of opening my own private practice somewhere."
Given Tomaz's record of achievement, few would bet against him doing precisely that.