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
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Student Blog | Kaho

Kaho

More Travelling with Less Money
Posted , by Kaho

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One of my favorite occupations is to travel. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been flying internationally since I was 4 years old between Japan and the US, but I have MAJOR wanderlust. For a student who is pursuing her master’s degree and possibly a doctorate degree (on top of pre-existing loans from undergrad), this is a struggle. There’s a constant battle between saving money and engaging in what I love to do, but I made a promise to myself my senior year of high school that I would visit at least 1 new country every year for as long as my career/life allows. To date, I’ve been to Japan, USA, Canada, Taiwan, Germany, Italy, Thailand, Indonesia, Greece, Spain, and Mexico. Over the past several years, I’ve accumulated some knowledge on how to travel on a low budget, so I’d like to share three tips with you today:

  1. Use multiple apps/websites to compare flight ticket prices.
    I like to look on an app called Skyscanner before even deciding my destination. On there, you can set your destination to “Anywhere” and just select the month you’d like to travel. They’ll list out all of the countries you can fly to by price, and then you can see which city is cheapest within that country. This past summer, I flew to Spain from LAX for just $300 roundtrip!! Staying flexible and keeping your search general is key to finding cheap flights. Then, I go on other sites like Kayak and cheapflights.com to see if there are any better deals. Keep in mind that usually, the longer the layover, the cheaper the ticket. Most people dread long layovers, but use it to your advantage! With several hours, you can leave the airport and explore that city too. You can knock out two birds with one stone.
  2. Pack light in a backpack and stay in hostels.
    Trade your bulky suitcase in for a backpacking backpack. Mine holds 50 L and it has padded straps around my hips and chest, so I can fit a lot in there and still be able to carry it around comfortably. I use this so that it’s easy to always be on the go. I usually visit multiple cities when I travel, so I don’t stay put in one place for long. This requires me to move about with all of my belongings on me. Dragging a suitcase behind me all day would limit my mobility and occupy my hands, which I need to take photos, read maps, etc. I also hop from hostel to hostel because they’re cheap and easy to book for just a few nights. I use Hostelworld to find them. The majority of my day is spent outdoors exploring anyway, so I don’t need fancy accommodation, I just need a place to shower and sleep. I’ve stayed in hostels that range from $10-$30/night, which allows me to spend more on activities and cultural experiences. Staying in hostels also allows me to meet people from all over the world that love to travel, like me. They often have amazing stories to share about their current and past journeys!
  3. Use public transportation.
    I totally understand that being in a new country (that is often non-English-speaking) is scary. It’s tempting to just call a taxi or sign up for a tour that takes care of transportation for you. However, public transportation is usually the cheapest mode of transportation in any country and many countries have a better system than the US. I recently started using something called Mapway. They have a different app for each major city with a developed transit system. You simply put in your starting point and destination and the app will figure out the best route for you. It’ll tell you what train line to get on from what station, when and how to transfer to another line if need be, and it’ll even tell you whether you should ride towards the front or back of the train to be near the exit at your stop! Using public transportation will allow you to dive deeper into the country’s culture and have you feeling like a local.😀

There’s so many more tips for money-saving on trips and I’m still learning more and more each time I travel. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions, want to hear more, or have some tips of your own! I’d love to hear about them. Happy Travelling!

kecak dance in Bali, Indonesia

One of my favorite memories: seeing the Indonesian kecak dance up close in Bali.

 

Kaho

Why Occupational Therapy?
Posted , by Kaho

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I’ve always thought that I would pursue a career in the health field, but I thought that I was meant to become a doctor. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college that I started to question whether I was pursuing a career as a doctor because I was actually passionate about it, or because I had never learned much about the other existing health professions. As I started to explore and research more options, I fell upon occupational therapy.

The first thing that pulled me towards it is the deep, personal relationship that OTs build with their clients. They get to know their clients as a unique human being in various contexts and they are dedicated to helping people engage in activities/roles that are meaningful to them. I love that occupational therapy integrates mental health with physical health because I am passionate about both. The more I learned about the profession, the more I fell in love with it and the more I felt like this was truly what I was meant to be. (Also worthy to mention that occupational therapy is ranked #13 by U.S. News as one of the best jobs of 2019!) I began the process of looking up potential schools and the prerequisites for applying to those schools. I began volunteering in various hospitals in order to see real OTs in action. For example, I observed a hand therapist during my junior year of college and over the summers when I would fly home to Japan for several months, I volunteered in the geriatric department at several hospitals. I still had trouble explaining to people what exactly occupational therapy is and I now know that my knowledge of the profession at that time was still very limited, but I was confident that I had found my dream job.

Occupational therapy is truly an incredible and beautiful profession and this past year in the program has expanded my interests on what population I want to serve in what setting. I am very fortunate to be studying occupational therapy at one of the leading universities of the profession and I am thrilled to continue learning and growing and see what all is in store for my last year in the program!