Hello all! The past couple of weeks have been a crazy whirlwind of events for us second year master’s students. Each year for our leadership capstone, USC students participate in a 2-week externship. Heather describes in detail what that is in her previous blog.
I, along with 10 other classmates, chose to go to South Korea, to participate in one of externships provided by the USC Chan Division of Global Initiatives. We were split between three universities, Inje, Yonsei and Soonchunhyang, and were able to experience a cultural immersion within each respective occupational therapy department. We learned about occupational therapy by studying the diversity within health care and educational systems, along with culture-specific population needs of people with disabilities in Korea. As occupational therapists we realize the importance of understanding each client’s customs, routines and motivations in order to help them participate in meaningful activities. Inje University allowed us to obtain this cultural knowledge by interacting with professors and students, participating in occupational therapy treatment sessions at the HOPE clinic (Healing through Occupational Performance Enhancement) and attending classroom lectures. Dr. An, the therapist and professor we learned from in Korea, taught us specifically about how to be a compassionate, energetic and knowledgable leader in one’s field, which is a lesson that I will take with me no matter what practice area I enter. By coming to Korea we all received much more than we had expected. Aside from all of the knowledge gained about occupational therapy, we believe that we have truly grown as individuals by the relationships formed with Inje University administrators, professors and students.
Furthermore, while I learned so much from actually going to Korea, the best preparation for this trip actually came from meeting Korean students ahead of time during their visit to the United States! Six Yonsei University students actually came to USC about a month ago to experience a similar cultural immersion in America.
While they were here to learn about occupational therapy at USC, we actually learned so much from them as well!
They were able to give me a heads up on what to expect in Korea, and how to impress my friends at Inje University with popular Korean expressions and cute little hand gestures.
Now I can truly feel as though I know both sides of a cultural immersion, by serving as a host to Korean visitors, as well as a guest of honor. Neither of these experiences would have been possible though, without the planning and coordinating efforts of Dr. Daniel Park, and the rest of the USC Chan Division of Global Initiatives.
I am forever appreciative for the work that Global Initiatives has done to make these remarkable experiences possible! If you want to learn more about other Global Initiative projects you can see their Facebook at facebook.com/USCChanOSOTGlobal