One of the most challenging things about being an international student is breaking the “language barrier”. Especially entering a graduate program, sitting through classes with English as the medium of instruction will seem intimidating. However, do not fear because anything is possible when you set your mind to it!
Some readers have been eager to learn different ways on how to improve their English. Today I wanted to share with you some strategies on how to master the English language.
Television was one of the many ways I polished my English. I loved watching TV shows like F.R.I.E.N.D.S, Scrubs, and How I Met Your Mother. I always recommend this method, since the stories are always interesting plus you will get a glimpse of American culture. The internet also holds much promise in helping you learn a second language. Youtube has been a great platform for sharing videos and gaining information. You could also visit our youtube page to see what’s going on in the Chan Division.
Reading has also been one of my favorite occupations. I can pick up a good book and just read on for hours until I finish it. Reading is a great way to get a good idea of the English grammar. It’s one thing to hear it and another thing to see it. Read Kimmy’s blog about how she loves reading too.
Lastly, I believe that actually practicing your English will be the most beneficial way of learning. Our professors here always say “You use it or lose it”, practice makes perfect! It is always helpful to practice conversing with someone who has a good mastery of the English language. In this way you will get over your nerves and it will help you get used to conversing with an English speaker.
There are many resources out there to help you improve your communication skills. Websites like BBC Learning English , IELTS preparation and TOEFL-tips are my favorite sites to go to especially when polishing my English.
Don’t be intimidated by the English language, embrace your multi-lingual tongue and add English under your repertoire of spoken languages!
Last week, I had the chance to visit Dr. Solomon’s Occupational Science (OS) minor course: Occupational Foundations of Human-Animal Interaction! During my visit, I was able to learn how interacting with an animal can benefit your overall health and wellness. I mean…who would have thought that some quality time with a cute creature can boost your social-emotional, physiological, and physical well-being?! In addition to learning more about animal-assisted therapy, I also had the opportunity to meet Dr. Catherine Dorr, the executive director of Assisted Dogs International and an occupational therapist OTD, OTR/L who facilitates canine interventions within her clinical practice. During this classroom visit, I met Ford, who is pictured below with me. Dr. Dorr shared her experiences with working with Ford and her passion for training other canines to serve as facility dogs.
The famous Ford himself!
Ford and I posing for our close-up!
USC undergraduate students and Ford
In addition, the Office for Wellness and Health Promotion (OWHP) at USC has introduced its newest member, Professor Beau. Professor Beau is unlike other canines; he is the first, full-time wellness dog that USC has ever had! Fight on!
Before deciding to enter a graduate program, you may have asked yourself, “Can I be an OT?” I may not know you too well yet, but I have a feeling the answer is yes! While a Master’s degree in occupational therapy is required to practice, many professionals arrive at this destination from vastly different origins.
My path was a bit more direct as I entered USC directly in the Bachelor’s to Master’s program. However, in the effort to gain a well-rounded undergraduate education, I also pursued a major in psychology and a minor in nutrition & health promotion. By studying these diverse fields, I feel enabled to blend multiple perspectives to inform my future practice as an occupational therapist.
Occupational therapy stresses the importance of client-centered practice and treating the whole person. Because each OT exudes a unique therapeutic style, one’s practice can be informed by his or her background. An OT with a background in business might differ from one who studied sociology, but they can both provide valuable treatment for their clients. Further, these varied perspectives allow therapists to share knowledge and exchange ideas with each other, which improves therapists’ clinical reasoning and the profession as a whole!
We had a float in the Rose Parade and it was the coolest!
In case you missed it, there was a float in the 128th Rose Parade on January 2nd celebrating the centennial of occupational therapy. You read that right, the centennial. Occupational therapy was founded in 1917. We have been raising money for the float for a long time now and it was rewarding to see the finished product. The float featured images of OTs working with patients. One image featured our very own Erwin with another USC student who sustained a spinal cord injury and lives in the OT House! There was also a replica of the Hull House where OT was born. Those riding the float were occupational therapists, including the former chair of the division, Dr. Florence Clark, and those who have received OT services.
I was able to volunteer to decorate the float on a very rainy New Year’s Eve. It was an exciting day with lots of commotion between volunteers, tours, and judges. I brought my parents to join in the fun and we helped glue the eucalyptus leaves on the roof of the Hull House. We also were able to see some of the other floats up close. It’s amazing to see the detail and the fresh flowers are beautiful!
My parents and I also went to the Rose Parade to see the float in action and the USC Band! What a great day to be an OT and a Trojan with that win at the Rose Bowl!
When starting graduate school, housing is a big consideration. I have moved each year throughout my time at USC and have been fortunate enough to live by both the University Park Campus and the Health Sciences Campus. Everyone has different priorities, but for me, I specifically sought out places that came furnished, were located near campus, and created a welcoming environment for students.
The OT House is a convenient option full of future occupational therapists—what could be better?! Despite its name, it is an apartment building, not a house. It is located near UPC with a tram stop right outside. Students usually take the morning tram to commute to HSC, which makes it manageable to live without a car. A portion of the OT House is dedicated as a special interest housing community for occupational therapy students. The recreation room on the second floor is home to Engage, a student organization focused on engaging community youth in meaningful occupations. Because it is managed by USC Housing, the rental cycle aligns with the semester schedule of the OT program.
This year, I live in Currie Hall on HSC, which was just built last year. The facilities are new and the location is incredibly convenient; I can see the OT building from my balcony! Complete with a pool, hot tub, gym, and fire pit, Currie Hall is the place to be. Don’t worry parents—there is a study room, too, and it offers free printing! Aside from all the amenities, I especially appreciate the opportunity to live in a community full of health science students. Many of my OT classmates live just down the hall (or next door!), but I have also met students from other professional programs, as well. In fact, my roommates consist of an occupational therapy student, a medical student, and a gerontology student. We have learned from each other and become close friends as a result of living together.
These are just two student housing options, but there are surely more out there. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or the other ambassadors!