WHY GO ON AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ELECTIVE ABROAD?
Our occupational therapy placements abroad give you the opportunity to go on a placement in the developing world in a low-resource hospital setting.
The broad aim of an occupational therapy elective is to see a healthcare system that’s in contrast to your own. You’ll see practices, like paraffin therapy, that you might never have seen before.
While experiencing occupational therapy abroad, you’ll encounter cases like leprosy and polio — not common in the UK. And you’ll learn how limited resources affect the provision of care for more common conditions like contractures and neuropathies. Rehabilitation equipment is largely handmade, for example.
THE CLINICAL EXPERIENCE
An occupational therapy placement abroad is all about seeing your discipline through a new lens. You’ll rapidly discover that things we take for granted in the UK — even basic gym equipment — are luxuries in some developing countries.
Some things you will observe include:
- Patients from diverse occupational backgrounds
- Handmade rehabilitation equipment
- Uncommon conditions like clubfoot and leprosy
- Extremely late presentation and advanced cases
You will also see major differences in the fundamentals of occupational therapy too. In many of our destinations, occupational therapy is still an emerging practise. This means some of the techniques you’ll observe may be unfamiliar, and some may even be improvised on the spot.
Hospital placements run Monday to Friday. That means your evenings and weekends are free to explore a country you might never have otherwise visited.
The service we offer starts from the moment you get in touch with us. Then, we provide structured support before, during and even after your trip.
The service covers all bases so you don’t have to worry about a thing. We take all the stress out of planning so you can just enjoy your placement abroad.
With us, you’ll get:
A tailored OT elective in your choice of departments | Comprehensive pre-trip preparation | 24/7 in-country support team | Private, catered accommodation | Airport pickup
Arrivals are every Sunday, 52 weeks of the year (you can travel whenever suits you), and durations start from two weeks.
For a more detailed step-by-step guide to how our service works, click here.
The focus of your trip will always be your clinical placement. But you’ll have time away from the hospital to throw yourself into exploring the country you’re based in.
Whether you’re into solo or group travel, you’ll enjoy weekend trips that will be highlights of your experience. From trekking through the Himalayan Mountains to rafting down the Zambezi, you have an abundance of opportunity for adventure, and cultural immersion.
WHERE DO I START?
Talk to us. We’re here to answer every one of your questions and help you develop a clear picture of what you can expect from your OT placement.
Get in touch using the short enquiry form.
Sri Lanka - Anuradhapura
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On an occupational therapy placement in Anuradhapura, you’ll could help rehabilitate patients using equipment improvised from everyday items. Resources are scarce here, so you won’t see the modern equipment you’re used to practising with. Typical cases include burns patients, ICU patients, cases of PTSD, and orthopaedic cases. You’ll find speech pathologists and physiotherapists working closely with local OT staff. And there’s a specialist paediatric psychiatry clinic you can attend if that’s something that interests you. To read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Anuradhapura, click here.
Tanzania - Dar es Salaam
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If you display a proactive attitude when you’re on placement, you’ll get much better experience with patients. You can help to treat cases of arthritis, contractures, neuropathies and children with delayed milestones. The occupational therapy team here in Dar are also stationed in the ICU, and conduct home visits. This gives you an idea of the bigger picture of how OT is delivered in the developing world. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to.
"I helped form treatment plans, made splints, and carried out assessments within my professional limitations."
Gemma Fryer, Coventry University 2018Read more
"If you’re thinking of heading to Nepal for your placement, get ready to have the experience of a lifetime."
Laura Langdon, La Trobe University 2018Read more
"Work the World made planning and preparing my placement totally achievable."
Jane Cooper, Trinity College Dublin 2016Read more
What is an occupational therapy elective?
An occupational therapy elective is a clinical placement that OT students undertake as part of their degree. Every year, more and more occupational therapy students are doing their OT electives overseas. To create your own customised occupational therapy elective, get in touch with us today.
How long is an occupational therapy elective?
An occupational therapy elective is as long as you want it to be. Our minimum placement duration is 2 weeks, but students typically travel on their occupational therapy electives for 4 weeks. There is no upper limit to how long you can travel for.
What are the most popular countries for occupational therapy electives?
Our most popular countries for physiotherapy electives are (in no particular order):
2. Sri Lanka.
What are the benefits of an occupational therapy elective?
The benefits of an occupational elective include:
- Expanding your clinical knowledge and skill set
- Becoming more confident, independent and resourceful
- Making yourself more attractive to employers
- Doing some proper travelling
- Building your personal and professional network
- Sharpening your language and communication skills
- Renewing your perspective on the NHS
What kinds of cases will I see on an overseas occupational therapy elective?
You will see cases like:
- Paediatric spina bifida
- Post-amputation rehabilitation