A student perspective: The importance of internationalisation

Hello fellow OT students!
I am excited to present a new idea we tried out for the blog section: A certain topic is presented by any member of SPOT, to which the whole community can share their views.
Ulrik, our general board member, wrote down some thoughts he had on the topic of internationalisation and why it is so important. On our instagram feed we shared a poll, asking for your opinion on internationalisation. I quoted some of your answers further down in the blog post.
We hope this may inspire you to get active and exchange your thoughts with OT students worldwide, keep your minds open and embrace new possibilites through international exchange! 🙂

Following text by Ulrik Løth Holm, General Board Member of SPOTeurope

I have always found it important to expand my field of opportunities, to become more flexible in my ways of thinking and to gain new perspectives. To me, this is the natural ‘product’ of ‘internationalisation’; a term which can mean different things to different people. For me, ‘internationalisation’ is embedded in our world being a ‘social construct’ and so very much more.
I believe that our world results from our thoughts and the thoughts of those around us – a ‘social product’ created and built up from the sharing of knowledge that takes place between people in different geographical locations. Today, this remains as true as it has always done, but our world is also considerably more complicated. We are living in an intermingled society where the boundaries of ‘us’ and ‘them’ are becoming increasingly blurred. The world is rapidly ‘growing smaller’ and ever more complex. And as the laws of nature tell us, we must adapt and overcome – which is
something I believe that, as human beings, we excel at. This has been especially evident over the last one hundred and fifty years during which time powerful social forces have created a capitalist society based not only on consumerism, but also on an exploration of the world, on the creation of new technologies, on connectivity and, therefore, on internationalisation. As a student, who is still learning and trying to create a sense of meaning in the world, I cannot pretend to understand the full complexity of these forces. So, what do I understand about internationalisation from the personal perspective of a student? I know that I grew up in a home with an Islamic father and a Christian mother. I know that my two elder brothers grew up in the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia whereas I grew up in Denmark with my younger brother – so many differences between us and yet, we are similar in more ways than I can count. I also know that every person I’ve met online or through travelling has enriched my life and broadened my understanding of the world that we live in. These are the people that I talk to weekly – thanks to new technology, the boundaries of physical space have become blurred, almost non-existent. And sometimes, I have a harder time understanding the place that I call ‘home’ and the people that live there – because their socially constructed world might be more different from mine and from the world of those that I talk to despite the fact that they might be living on a completely different part of the globe.

So, why is internationalisation important?

It is important because internationalisation unites rather than separates country from country or municipality from municipality, and the opportunity of internationalisation can present itself even within our own apartment building. Also, by learning the skills inherent within internationalisation, we expand our network of people, we strengthen our relations, we become better at navigating in a complex world and most importantly, we expand our field of opportunities.

I believe the most important aspect of internationalisation is that it teaches us that there is a lot we do not know and have yet to become conscious of. It creates a curious mind, and with that comes a great deal of joy and fulfilment.

In addition, the importance of internationalisation shows itself within all types of institutions because of the variety of cultures which it embraces and because it requires a mastery of cultural relativism, cultural sensitivity and an awareness of the cultural diversity that exists all around us. So, please, next time, do not be afraid of talking to a stranger that looks or seems different from you. You might have more in common than you think.

In the follwing you’ll find some of your ideas we received via instagram stories concerning the question: Why is internationalisation important?

To spread knowledge and experiences

To provide individuals/people with diverse perspectives about OT and more

To expand your mind and as a result, your understanding of other beings

To see OT on a broader view

Collaboration together makes it easier in the workplace

Thank you to everyone who took part in the poll! We love to see you guys take part in online exchanges.

If the idea of “a student prespective …” is something you would like to see continued, please feel free to give me feedback via e-mail or in the comment section!

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