University of Southern California
University of Southern California
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Redesigning Lives Globally
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USC Chan Global Initiatives

Summer Occupational Therapy Immersion (SOTI) Program for International Students and Therapists

The Summer Occupational Therapy Immersion (SOTI) program is a four-week summer program designed for international occupational therapists and occupational therapy students who are interested in studying or working in the United States. (Students who are applying to, or have already been admitted to, the USC Chan Division’s master’s or OTD degree programs may also choose to participate in this summer session prior to the start of their fall semester.) This program will serve as an introduction to occupational science and occupational therapy (OT) practice in the United States and will provide opportunities for students to learn from USC’s renowned faculty and visit various clinical settings in Southern California.

2017 SOTI Program Flyer

Program Objectives

Students will:

  • Be introduced to occupational science and USC’s current cutting-edge research programs
  • Become familiar with the main settings of occupational therapy practice in the United States, including pediatric, adult physical rehabilitation and mental health practice, as well as with emerging practice areas such as OT interventions with the homeless and applications of technology for rehabilitation
  • Acquire a deeper understanding of how to obtain certification by the United States’ National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy® (NBCOT)
  • Network with other international occupational therapy professionals, USC faculty members and international alumni
  • Develop a more global perspective of OT, health and wellness

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy Practice Seminars

Experienced faculty from the USC Chan Division will lead 2-3 hour seminars that address their current research or clinical expertise. OS and OT Practice Seminars will include the following topics:

  • Introduction to the United States’ healthcare system
  • OT practice in pediatrics (including Sensory Integration)
  • OT practice in physical rehabilitation
  • OT practice in mental health
  • Foundational principles of occupational science
  • Current research at USC (e.g., Lifestyle Redesign®, diabetes and infant mental health)
  • OT and neuroscience
  • Leadership and professionalism

The 2015 class of SOTI students

The 2015 class of SOTI students

Occupational Therapy Site Visits

The SOTI program will introduce students to various occupational therapy practice settings in the United States. Successful OT professionals will provide engaging guest lectures and facilitate tours to their worksites. Please note that direct therapy session observations may not be available due to patient confidentiality. Previous site visits have included:

  • Keck Hospital of USC (acute care)
  • USC Faculty Practice (private practice)
  • Pasadena Keck Medical Center (primary care)
  • Therapy West Inc. & pLAy Studio (pediatrics)
  • Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center (adult physical rehabilitation)
  • The Children’s Ranch Foundation (equine/hippotherapy)
  • Casa Colina Rehabilitation Hospital (adult physical rehabilitation)
  • USC Institute for Creative Technologies (technological innovations for practice)

SOTI hospital site visit

SOTI hospital site visit

*One site visit session will be replaced by a Panel Discussion with International OT Alumni, which will cover the following topics:

  • NBCOT examination process
  • Visa-related considerations for employment
  • Job-search strategies
  • Tips for success as an international OT student
  • Tips for thriving during the first year as an international OT alumni

Cultural and Recreational Outings

A key concept of occupational therapy is the balancing of work, play, rest and sleep. The SOTI program sets aside each Friday to encourage various cultural outings and activities throughout Los Angeles and southern California. Some previous activities have included:

  • Beach day and bonfire at Dockweiler State Beach
  • Hiking at Griffith Park
  • Watching Independence Day fireworks displays at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
  • Exploring the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and the J. Paul Getty Museum
  • Some students have also visited Disneyland and Universal Studios theme parks during free time

2016 SOTI class at Dockweiler State Beach

2016 SOTI class at Dockweiler State Beach

Sample Schedule from the 2016 SOTI Program

Morning Afternoon
Monday Lecture: The Sensory Adapted Dental Environment Intervention; Personal Sharing: Thriving as an individual with bilateral congenital amputations Site Visit: The USC Institute for Creative Technologies (virtual reality and technology-based games)
Tuesday Lecture: The Sensory Integration (SI) Treatment Approach Site Visit: Therapy West Inc., & pLAy Studio (pediatric SI clinic)
Wednesday Lecture: OT and Infant Mental Health Care; Lecture: OT and Early Intervention Small group discussion and evening social mixer with USC OT students
Thursday Site Visit: Casa Colina Rehabilitation Hospital Site Visit cont.
Friday Cultural and Recreational Outing: The Getty Museum and The GroveLA Cultural and Recreational Outing cont.

Additionally, participants will have opportunities to participate in weekly organized leisure and networking events.


Tuition for the 2017 SOTI program is $3,500 USD. Please contact us for information about additional expenses (e.g., visa application fee; health insurance).


All students will be offered free housing for a four-week stay (28 days) at USC’s Cardinal Gardens Apartments near the University Park Campus.


To apply, please complete the online application by March 15, 2017. If you have further questions, please contact Program Director Daniel Park OTD, OTR/L at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). We encourage early applications, as we evaluate applications as they are received and offer SOTI admission on a rolling basis.

View the 2017 SOTI Program flyer.

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