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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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Preparing to Travel ⟩
February 25, 2014, by Jen


I cannot believe how fast this semester is flying by. This Saturday I will be leaving for a two-week externship. The goal of the externship is to build leadership, communication, and professionalism skills and independently explore topics that have been presented in our Leadership Capstone course this semester. This is different than another fieldwork or clinical experience. The externship allows you to create your own unique experience. Many people use this as an opportunity to travel abroad. I have many classmates that are going to Africa and working witch children with disabilities. I also have classmates that are traveling to Asia and Europe. I decided I would stay on this continent for my externship. I will be heading to Alabama to explore research within Auburn’s School of Kinesiology. I am very excited for this experience. I have never flown outside of California on my own before, so it will be a little out of my comfort zone. I am really looking forward to this opportunity and cannot wait to share my experiences with you when I return!


Gearing Up For Ghana! ⟩
February 19, 2014, by Kate

Externships International

As I may have mentioned, I will be going to Ghana for my Leadership Externship, alongside about 30 of my classmates and 10 occupational therapists/professors. I’ve known since last November that I was going on this journey, but it is so crazy to me that I will be leaving exactly 2 weeks from today! There have been many items on our “TO DO” list that I have accomplished just in the nick of time; there are also many items on that list that I still need to conquer! Today I bought my insect repellent in order to fend off the mosquitoes, a couple bandannas to help with the dust, and all-important sunscreen. I still need to purchase materials for my activities with the students and get my school materials together for when I am there. I will be able to journal each day to reflect on my experiences, and I bought a camera for pictures and video. I’m so excited for this journey and to learn more about myself and my own capacities as a future clinician. I can’t wait to come back after my 3 week trip (Ghana in 2 weeks and then Spring Break for a week in Germany) and share all about my experiences. My fellow ambassador, Clarissa, will also be on the trip, so I’m sure between the two of us, we will have MANY pictures and stories. HOORAY!


Spring is in the air ⟩
January 21, 2014, by Rob

Classes Externships International Living in LA

Spring is in the air. Not just Spring semester, but the feel of Spring. An unseasonable warm period has flowers blooming, students wearing shorts, and the ants at my house on the prowl. If you live anywhere east of California, I’m sorry. I know it’s cold. My parents in Chicago sent me pictures from when the daily high was not getting above 0 degrees. That’s not normal even for Chicago.

I’ll tell you, it makes me even happier to be in southern California!

Spring is in the air. In a few short weeks, I will be leaving for Ireland for our Leadership Externship. The experience is a student-organized two-week externship, which means it can be whatever you want it to be. Some of us are going internationally and many more are staying within the United States. For me, I wanted to get more education experience and see how occupational therapy and disability are taught in another country. I’m going to be at the University College Cork for the two weeks and then I’ll have part of Spring Break to explore the country on my own.

Plus, they have a juggling team!

Our final semester is focused on electives, giving students a chance to focus on one or several areas that they find interesting. I have three general areas of interest: education, disability studies, and older adults. For the first two, I’m working on independent studies focused on teaching pedagogy and disability education in occupational therapy. My other electives are Universal Design and a course on housing and older adults through the Davis School of Gerontology.

All in all, it promises to be a fun semester.


We Are Back!!! ⟩
January 16, 2014, by Ryan

Classes Externships School/Life Balance

I can’t believe it has been a month already, full of relaxing and enjoying friends and family. I had a pretty good break, but it sure went by fast. I am from the area so I was able to work in the Admissions office a couple of days. I was so glad to be helpful to the Admissions team during the busy time of the holidays and admitting students for fall 2014. Then I went to Tucson, Arizona for the Christmas holiday to visit my uncle, aunt, cousins, and my cousin’s kids. The weather was great and I enjoyed spending time with family that I don’t get to see very often. I watched a good amount of television as well. I caught up on some movies and shows that I never get to watch during the semester. I also took a lot of yoga during the break which was an awesome way to relax over the break after such a jam backed fall semester. However, I am excited to be back at school. This semester is my last semester (Holy Cow?!!!), and as second year students in our spring semester we are able to choose between 12-18 units of electives within areas of interest. I chose 12 units giving me a lighter schedule this semester and I chose a variety of classes that I am excited to learn more about. For example, I am taking Sensory Integration theory course which can count towards a certification if I am interested in continuing after I graduate. Also, I am taking an Acute Care course where I am able to observe OTs at Keck Hospital within the acute setting. I am so excited to get more experience in this area to prepare me for my summer Level II Fieldwork. Well I look forward to sharing more experiences this semester . . . like the Leadership Externship!

Here is the Admission team and Student Ambasssdors for our holiday lunch, Sabino Canyon in Tucson, and my new pencil to start off my last semester!

Admission team and Student Ambasssdors meet for holiday lunch

Sabino Canyon in Tucson

Ryan with new pencil — complete with fake moustache


An Exciting Semester Ahead! ⟩
January 16, 2014, by Kate

Classes Externships

After a very relaxing and restorative winter break, I am now ready to kick off my last semester as a Master’s student with a big bang! Although it is always tough to get back into a routine of waking up early and studying on weekends, I know that this is the last 3 months before I’ll be in the “real world” of occupational therapy. This semester is different than others, too, because we are able to take electives in our specific area of interest. By doing so, we can develop our niche in the field of occupational therapy, which will help us in our own clinical practice.

This semester, I am taking Lifestyle Redesign and a special elective at the Occupational Therapy Faculty Practice so that I can implement some of these techniques into a group session. I’m also taking a Motivational Interviewing class in order to improve my communication in a therapeutic manner. My other elective is a special topics course in occupational therapy in acute care. This class is really neat because alongside a weekly lecture/lab combination, we spend four hours per week in a hospital setting at USC’s Keck Medical Center.

This semester I am also excited for our leadership externship that is associated with our Leadership Capstone course. I am going to Ghana with a group of about 40 other students and practicing occupational therapists. We will be working with children with disabilities at a special school and training center. I’m very much looking forward to gaining a global view on the opportunities for those with special needs.

All in all, I couldn’t be happier with my schedule this semester. The classes I have chosen and the adventures that await me are challenging yet exciting.

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