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University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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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 learning about occupational therapy practice, education and research 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.

2021 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
  • Learn about OT practice around the world, and develop a more global perspective of occupation, 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
  • Foundational principles of occupational science
  • OT practice in pediatrics (including Sensory Integration)
  • OT practice in physical rehabilitation
  • OT practice in mental health practice
  • OT practice in emerging practice areas (e.g., OT’s role in addressing human trafficking)
  • Current research at USC (e.g., Lifestyle Redesign®, neuroplasticity and neurorehabilitation)
  • Leadership and professionalism

2018 SOTI students on USC's campus

2018 SOTI students on USC’s campus

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)
  • Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing (technological innovations for aging in place)
  • Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (pediatrics)
  • Ocean Therapy (mental health surfing interventions)
  • Century Villages at Cabrillo (services for homeless individuals and families)

2018 SOTI class at Casa Colina Hospital

2018 SOTI class at Casa Colina Hospital

Cultural and Recreational Outings

A key concept of occupational therapy is the balancing of work, play, rest and sleep. The SOTI program sets aside ample time 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

2019 SOTI class at Dockweiler State Beach

2019 SOTI class at Dockweiler State Beach

Sample Schedule from the 2019 SOTI Program

Morning Afternoon
Monday Site Visit: ​Mt. San Antonio Gardens (innovative model of nursing home care) Workshop: ​Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing (aging in place & assistive technology)
Tuesday Research Lecture: ​The Sensory Adapted Dental Environment​ (SADE) for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders Site Visit​: Prototypes (community-based mental health)

Evening ​social mixer ​with USC Chan students
Wednesday Lecture​ ​and Panel: ​OT’s role in Mental Health Care in the United States Student Presentations: “OT Where I Am From”
Thursday Site Visit​: Pediatric Therapy Network (sensory integration pediatric clinic) Lecture:​ Flip That Skilled Nursing Facility!
Friday Site Visit: ​Los Angeles Unified School District Cultural and Recreational Outing: ​The Getty Museum

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


Tuition for the 2021 SOTI program is $3,700 USD. Housing will be offered without additional charge (see below). 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 at the new USC Village by the University Park Campus.


The online application for the 2021 SOTI program is now open. Please contact Program Director Daniel Park OTD, OTR/L at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) regarding any questions. We encourage early applications as we evaluate applications when they are received and offer SOTI admission on a continuous basis.

View the 2021 SOTI Program flyer.

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