New horizons

Raised in a family passionate about chiropractic care, Devon has known chiropractic almost all her life. She had her first adjustment as a teenager and enjoyed the benefits of a healthy spine and nervous system, but it wasn’t until she became a mother, that she found herself really drawn to the profession. “I had a difficult pregnancy and my son was born premature and tiny. He wouldn’t feed or sleep properly and my mum suggested I take him to a paediatric chiropractor.” Devon says the results were mind-blowing. “The chiropractor was gentle and made an immediate difference. After a while, we would get to the clinic and I would see my son visibly relax when he got inside.”

After such a transformative experience, Devon started referring her mum-friends to her chiropractor for care. “The change I saw in my son and me was next level and I knew chiropractic was something I needed to do.” After having her second child and returning to her corporate job, Devon finally realised that she wasn’t in the right career. “I liked my job, but I didn’t love it. I really wanted to do something that helped people.” Together with her husband, they decided it was time for Devon to study to become a chiropractor herself.

A fresh chapter

Once the decision was made, Devon dropped everything to re-skill. As a UK resident, she applied for – and was accepted into – chiropractic studies at Bournemouth University, but the logistics of commuting and childcare weren’t going to work for her family, so her local chiropractor recommended trying Australia or New Zealand for a chiropractic degree. “I applied to the NZCC, was accepted and have never looked back.”

Devon admits going back to university after working full time and having kids was difficult. “I knew I would need a student support network and lucky for me I’ve found that here and it’s amazing”, says Devon who met two of her closest NZCC friends at pre-chiro studies at AUT.

“Transitioning from pre-chiro to the NZCC was another big change, but it was manageable because I was well briefed on what to expect. I’ve got my ‘chiro family’ now and they keep me on track and accountable.”

Her advice for others looking into chiropractic study is to be prepared to throw yourself fully into the dream. “If you are considering studying chiropractic, or if you’re on the fence about whether it’s the right thing for you, just do it and go all in, because if you don’t, you miss the experience.”

A positive culture shock

Devon says she’s hugely grateful for the fact her husband’s company did a lot to help her and her family move to New Zealand, including shipping belongings over and putting the family in temporary accommodation. She says the only logistical issue she experienced was commuting from west Auckland to the NZCC’s Mt Wellington campus, so she eventually shifted house to avoid traffic.

It took a bit longer, however, for Devon to unwind from the hectic pace of UK life. “The lifestyle difference between UK and NZ is huge. It was difficult to get used to how relaxed everyone is here. I lived in London for 10 years and it’s super faced paced, like people ‘walk-run’ everywhere! So it took me time to adjust to the slower pace here. Now that I have, there are so many perks that come with it.”

For Devon, the biggest perk has been the extra time she now has to spend with her family, even as a full-time student. “New Zealand is amazing, there is so much for us to see and do. I love everything about life here, including the exploring, the ease of getting around and having more time with my kids.”

Devon says now that she and her family are settled, they often host other international students for special events, like Thanksgiving, to keep overseas traditions alive.

Improving life for families

Having been called to chiropractic as a result of her own experience as a new mother, Devon is keen to use her chiropractic skills to support maternal and newborn health, but she wants to do so with the whole family in mind. “I want to make a difference in the community and help people. I want to be the reason grandparents can physically lift their grandkids up, that babies can breastfeed properly, or sleep well through the night and that families function properly. I want to be the reason for that.”