Read below what Leah has shared with her university about her time in Ecuador:
1. Describe your Education Abroad program(s):
I had an internship in Quito, Ecuador at a school for children and young adults with disabilities. The school’s focus is on the arts; they have their own performing orchestra and choir, academic classrooms, and spaces like dance and art rooms for more creative expression. My focus at the school was in Occupational Therapy. Not only did I assist the school’s occupational therapist, but I was also given a list of students to see weekly for my own therapy sessions. I also got to work alongside Occupational Therapy students from Ecuador.
2. Is this a good program for other students in your major?
I would recommend this program to students in my major because it gave me a unique opportunity to apply the knowledge that I had learned in my courses. Our undergrad program does not include much opportunity for interactions with real clients and in this program I had my own list of students that I worked with daily to practice my skills.
3. Was this your first time abroad?
4. How do you feel that you benefited from studying abroad?
Studying abroad gave me the confidence that I needed to know that I can succeed in my future career. I also learned so many great tips for smart traveling in the future. My independence and adaptability skills have soared since this trip and it has made me so unbelievably happy with the person that I am growing into.
5. How do you think this experience will impact your future plans?
This trip has given me the inspiration to follow my dreams of traveling and helping out in other countries. I did not consider this dream as a reality until I was actually abroad. I plan to take a year after my graduation with my master’s to work to save money and gain experience as an OT, then I plan to spend the next year traveling the world while also volunteering where I can.
6. How did the experience differ from your expectations?
I was expecting my internship to be a lot more restricted than it was. I had imagined myself shadowing and assisting with their OT, but I had never imagined being alone in my own therapy. I also did realize how accessible traveling to other places in the country would be. I was able to go on an excursion almost every weekend, which just made my experience even better and allowed me to really fall in love with the country.
7. What other countries have you traveled to?
8. Favorite thing about studying abroad?
I really could not imagine my trip abroad without all of the amazing friends that I made. I made friends with people back in the U.S. that I still keep in touch with and hope to visit in their homes in the near future. I also made really great relationships with coworkers and my host family so I know that we will keep in touch and see each other again one day.
9. Suggestions for future students?
While abroad, if you ever have any concerns at all you should never hesitate to let your internship coordinator know. I was timid at first to tell mine about the concerns I had, but once I did she went above and beyond to make sure I was comfortable and knew what I was doing.
10. Anything you’d like to add?