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
Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn YouTube

Student Blog


Countdown to the 2017 AOTA Conference & Centennial Celebration!

, by Raisa · email · Leave a comment

One quality I admire most about the USC Chan Division, is their sincere support for their students. Recently, I was granted the Student Leadership Award; this is awarded to those who have a particular interest in becoming a leader in occupational therapy or occupational science. This year, the award is in support of student attendance and participation in the annual AOTA Conference and Centennial Celebration. It will be both an honor and privilege to attend the AOTA conference. It will be my pleasure to represent USC and the international students, this will definitely be the highlight of my academic year.

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is the national professional body for American Occupational Therapists, they strive for improvement and advancement of the profession. The association and profession was established in 1917, hence the Centennial celebration! It is indeed an exciting time to be in the occupational therapy profession, we are closer to achieving the centennial vision our forefathers had envisioned for us. This year, we celebrate 100 years of our beautiful profession, 100 years of helping people live life to the fullest!

Stay posted for updates, 6 more weeks to go!
Hope to see you there!

AOTA 2017 Banner, See you in Philly!

“We envision that occupational therapy is a powerful, widely recognized, science-driven, and evidence-based profession with a globally connected and diverse workforce meeting society’s occupational needs.”
- The AOTA Centennial Vision


Being multi-lingual is awesome

, by Raisa · email · Leave a comment

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!


Hello 2017 and Hello Spring Semester!

, by Raisa · email · Leave a comment

Happy New Year everyone! I hope everybody had a wonderful end to 2016 and a positive start to 2017. The start of the New Year also marks the start of the spring semester, which means new courses and my last semester in the Post-professional On-Campus Master’s program.

I am stoked for the spring semester as I will be diving right into my practice area of interest, which is Adult Rehabilitation! Find out more about the USC OSOT courses.

Let me give you a breakdown of the electives I will be taking this semester:

•  OT574 Enhancing Motor Control: This class provides an in-depth understanding of the role of OT, the domain of practice and occupation-based approach to adult rehabilitation in upper motor neuron syndromes. In this hands-on laboratory class, students will be able to interact with clients and clinicians for an integrated learning experience of both theory and application in the different approaches relating to Neurorehabilitation.

•  OT573 Hand Rehabilitation: Students will be able to build a good foundation of the anatomy and physiology of the forearm, wrist, and hand; incorporating the science and the art of occupation into developing your clinical reasoning skills for occupation-based evaluation and treatment for common hand disorders.

•  OT575 Dysphagia across the Lifespan, Pediatricts to Geriatrics: This course will give students a better understanding of the role of OT in the management of dysphagia cases from pediatric to geriatric populations. The class will focus on the OTs domain of practice, which will equip students with a firm foundation in the comprehension and treatment of swallowing disorders.

•  OT577 Seminar in Occupational Therapy: This class provides students with an overview of the role and domain of practice of occupational therapy in different clinical settings and contexts.  Seminar and class discussions will be done in order to integrate both theory and clinical practice in various healthcare settings. 

USC offers a variety of electives which will equip you with the skills you need to become a well-rounded practitioner. Evidence-based practice (EBP) is also a common foundation that all these courses are built on, your future self will thank you for keeping up to date with the latest EBP trends.Some of these courses even go towards a completion of specialization or certification in your future practice.

I hope to grow as an Occupational Therapist with the help of the esteemed USC OSOT faculty and my Trojan Family. I look forward to this semester, and I wish everyone the best of luck in their endeavors!  What electives would you want to take in the USC OSOT division? Shoot me an email, I’d love to hear from you!

Fight on!


The End of the Fall Semester

, by Raisa · email · Leave a comment

I cannot believe it is the end of the fall semester. It feels just like yesterday that I flew in from the Philippines to pursue my masters degree. The last 5 months feel like a surreal blur, but nonetheless, I am happy and ecstatic to be moving forward in the spring! This semester has been nothing short of amazing. I will not lie, it was difficult but it was definitely worth it. 

Through the efforts of our supportive faculty, the program was both challenging and rewarding. The program certainly does live up to its name and I am excited to see what the spring semester has in store for me.

Let me leave you with some pictures of the MA-1 class and our professors on our final classes.  With the holidays fast approaching I hope that everyone gets their well-needed rest, enjoy the time you have with friends and family. See you in the spring!

The MA1 class in their last class for Quantitative Research

Our last class for OT518: Quantitative Research with professor Shawn Phipps PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

MA1 in their final Cognitive Neuroscience Class

Our semester ending class on OT515: Neuroscience of Behavior with professor Sook-Lei Liew PhD, OTR/L

Final Class for Adult and Aging for the MA1

Our final class for OT538 Current Issues in Practice: Adulthood and Aging with Stacey Schepens Niemiec PhD, OTR/L

Final class for Health Promotion and Wellness

Final class for OT 534: Health Promotion and Wellness with Camille Dieterle OTD, OTR/L

Happy Holidays everyone!

Fight on!


Thanksgiving Potluck 2016

, by Raisa · email · Leave a comment

Can you believe that we only have about two more months to go before 2016 ends?! That also means that the fall semester ends in around 5 weeks! Yikes!

So November is here! Time to enjoy the cooling weather and fun fall activities. One notable fall event that should not be missed is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a traditional American holiday that is usually celebrated on the fourth thursday of November. However, thanksgiving came early for us this year. The MA-1 students were able to celebrate together on the beach, in true California fashion, all thanks to the efforts of Global Initiatives and Dr. Erna Blanche. The day was filled with fun, sand, waves and lots of food. Traditionally Thanksgiving would be celebrated with a whole oven roasted turkey, but we decided to take a trip around the world. Since it was a potluck, the class each shared a dish from their country. We had dishes from India, Taiwan, Philippines, Korea, Scotland, Italy and America, our bellies were stuffed! After the festivities, and a nice game of charades we headed out to the beach to watch the sunset. Needless to say it was beautiful. The sound of the waves crashing, the colors of the sun setting and the changing sky were magical. It was truly a beautiful end to such a lovely day.

On behalf of the MA-1 class I would like to extend our gratitude to Global Initiatives and Dr. Erna Blanche for hosting and coordinating this thanksgiving potluck for the class. It was a lovely day, and great way to get to know everyone through their food as well as culture.

Here are some pictures from our trip:

All photos used with permission from owners, Arielle Villanueva and Kathryna Gomez

MA-1's grabbing a plate of food

MA-1’s with big smiles and full plates!

Asparagus in a blanket

Asparagus in a blanket

Korean Kimbob all made from scratch

Korean Kimbob

Korean Fried Rice with Kimchi

Korean Kimchi Fried Rice

Taiwanese vs Philippine noodles

Both are fried rice noodles, the left is a Taiwanese dish while the one on the right is a Filipino dish. Shared food culture!

MA1 help yourselves

Help yourselves

Eton Mess lovely dessert from Britain

Eton Mess, a lovely dessert from Britain

Mung Bean dessert from Taiwan

Mung Bean a Taiwanese Dessert

Friendly game of telephone charades

Telephone charades!

Selfie on the beach

Selfie on the beach!

Selfie on the beach part 2

Selfie on the beach part 3 with Dr. Blanche

Global Initiatives Hosts

A big thank you to our hosts and event coordinators

Sunset after potluck thanksgiving

Beautiful sunset

Beautiful Sunset

Look at those colors

Everyone ready for group photo

Happy Thanksgiving from the MA-1 batch of 2017!



Page 1 of 2 |  1 2 >