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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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Externship + Spring Break


March 26, 2014
by Kate

Externships International School/Life Balance

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It’s been a whirlwind in my life the past 3 weeks. I went on my externship to Ghana (alongside 35 other OT students and fellow ambassador Clarissa) and then I spent 3 days in Berlin, Germany with one of my good friends from the OT program. My jet lag has not gone away, I must admit, and I am still confused as to when I should be hungry and when I should be tired. All in all, it was an amazing time away from school and I wish I could do a video blog to tell you all about it and share pictures and videos. I will try my best to be succinct yet thorough!

In Ghana, we stayed at the Mephibosheth Training Center in Appam, about 2 hours outside of the capital city of Accra. MTC is a boarding school for children with disabilities that come from all across Ghana, some as far as 9 hours away. About 53 children, ranging from about 5-23 years old, with physical and mental challenges, live at MTC and go to school. It is a true honor for these children to attend school because Ghanaians have traditional beliefs that disabilities stem from a curse on the family or the individual. Although this mindset is changing in the country, it is an ongoing process. Our group of USC OT students came to MTC to play and love on the kids, as well as perform 3 sets of vocational activities with them to note their skill and interest level in sewing, woodworking and leatherworking. We made a game of cornhole with bean bags and leather bracelets. It was truly amazing to spend time with these children!

We also had the opportunity to meet with OT students from the University of Ghana. They will be graduating their first class of 19 students this year, and it was really neat to share our knowledge and love of OT with them. Our group was also assigned to pair up with students from the University of Winneba in the Community-Based Rehabilitation Worker program. These students go out into the communities, find individuals with disabilities and refer them to sources. Many of the students/CBR workers are placed in schools. I was able to shadow a student placed at a primary school in a classroom of 14-16 year-old girls. They loved me and I loved them. It was magical to be surrounded by such joy.

I had the chance to relax in Berlin, where I toured the city with my friend Mona. We got on one of the hop-on, hop-off, double-decker tour buses for two days. This was the perfect choice because we were able to see all of the sites, get the history and have someone else drive! We ate pretzels, schnitzel, spaetzel and yes, drank a lot of beer. It was fun to visit such a cosmopolitan city! I was pretty happy to come home, however, despite the crazy time difference and my loads of homework due this week!!

Speaking of homework, I think I’ll get back to it. Stay tuned for more exciting developments as my fellow ambassadors and I wrap up our last 5 weeks of our grad school careers!!

Here’s a picture of one of the kiddos at MTC in Ghana and some pretzels in Germany. 😊