Attending the 2018 WFOT Congress as an OT student: my 8 very best moments!

Published by Maurane, on behalf of author Charlotte, SPOTeurope vice-president.

WFOT 2018 de Maurane

Hi everyone!

As some of you may know, I was lucky enough to win an RCOT competition (Royal College of Occupational Therapists) for funding to attend the WFOT Congress in South Africa this year.

I’ve just finished my second year of university and, although I’ve learnt a lot about OT (and myself), the WFOT Congress was perhaps more formative than any part of my OT journey so far!

I’d really like to share this experience with everyone, so here are my 8 best WFOT moments:

 

1. Marlene Le Roux

I knew this conference was going to be special when, in the opening ceremony, Marlene La Roux shared this powerful statement; “Occupational Therapy means you must be an activist.” We cannot limit our work to fitting ramps (for example); we have a responsibility to challenge attitudes, and see the bigger picture, using our skills to make change. This theme continued to grow throughout the conference. It was so exciting to see so many Occupational Therapists who were both passionate and political.

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpqIVz5jXcI

2. Elelwani Ramugondo: Healing work:  Intersections of Decoloniality

Elelwani Ramugondo’s keynote address introduced me to the concepts of occupational consciousness and decolonising health and Occupational Therapy. It was an incredibly powerful address which I am still reflecting on. As a result, I’m consciously unpicking my professional interactions and assumptions. I’m trying to ensure I am supporting the decolonisation of OT, not merely sustaining (and benefitting from) dominant practice. I’m also obsessed with reading her work, which should definitely be featured within our curriculum!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S96IIytPG9I

 

3. Hippotherapy

The WFOT congress wasn’t just workshops and presentations, there were also site visits. I was lucky enough to visit an OT at a local stables who runs hippotherapy sessions. Hippotherapy uses horse riding as a therapeutic occupation for increased balance, bilateral coordination, sensory integration, etc. It’s a fascinating area of practice and a really rare opportunity to see it in action! Check out the video made just for SPOTeurope.

 

https://twitter.com/SPOTeurope/status/1000415853177958400

 

4. GAPA Grannies (Grandmothers Against Poverty and Aids).

A really special feature at WFOT was the keynote address by service users in South Africa. It helped put Occupational Therapy into context and remind everyone who we are working for. The GAPA Grannies are such engaging story tellers. They shared their experiences of raising their grandchildren, the fight against Aids and poverty, and the value of being part of a group of people with shared experiences. You can see their presentation, as well as those from the other service user’s, here and here is their beautiful song.

http://www.gapa.org.za/

 

5. Student session

The student session consisted of a panel of inspiring Occupational Therapists talking about their individual OT journey and answering questions from students. They all had such different career paths and motivations, it was exciting to see there can be so much variation within our profession.

Here is some of the insight they offered:

https://twitter.com/SPOTeurope/status/1000086336928350208

https://twitter.com/SPOTeurope/status/999757524302786560

6. OT in natural disaster

When I think of disaster relief, I think of Doctors and Nurses swooping in and saving lives. I was curious to know where OT fits in, so I attended an afternoon of poster presentations on the subject.

I learnt that in a recent Japanese earthquake approximately twice as many disabled people died than non-disabled people. There are teams of OTs working with vulnerable communities to put plans in place should disaster strike. I was amazed to realise that, whilst others are picking up the pieces after a disaster, OTs are working behind the scenes to ensure it doesn’t claim as many lives in the first place, or disproportionality effect the most vulnerable. Our role is disaster preparedness!

 

7. Karen Whalley-Hammell: Building Globally Relevant Occupational Therapy from the Strength of our Diversity

Karen Whalley-Hammell’s keynote address challenged the predominantly white, female, middle class, western, non-disabled perspective that our research and theory comes from. She suggested that we have a habit of viewing these perspectives as the norm which is an “assertion of colonial power.” She offered lots of critique of our occupation categorisations and made strong arguments for a move towards co-occupations and interdependence to increase health and wellbeing. Not only was this fascinating and important, it will also be super useful in future assignments!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WipUPXx_Kk

8. Meeting new people and sharing a connection

I am not a naturally sociable person.. but the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with OTs and students from around the world was incredibly inspiring! I met people whose work I have followed, others who I have now started following and some who I will collaborate with in the future. Discovering shared interests and connections is exciting and gave new energy to my love for this profession!

https://twitter.com/LottieOcci/status/999329663804694529

https://twitter.com/SPOTeurope/status/1000016429213802496

Courtesy of Bill Wong


I have so much gratitude to RCOT for their competition and to my lecturers who convinced me to apply. I recommend you take any opportunity you can to attend the 2022 WFOT Congress in Paris!

SPOTeurope board members activities, news and projects.

Hi everyone! This blog aims to keep you up to date about SPOTeurope board activities. We know that our roles may be sometimes unclear, then here’s what we have done recently and a few words about our plans.

If you want to learn more about each member of the board check our About/The Board section.

Marlies, president, and Charlotte, vice president

They are currently strongly working with ENOTHE, the European Network of Occupational Therapy in Higher Education. They’re mainly preparing the 24th ENOTHE Annual Meeting, from 4th to 6th October 2018 at the Escola Superior de Saúde do Alcoitão (ESSA), Portugal, where we’re going to have a big presence.

Charlotte, SPOTeurope Vice-President

In addition, Marlies host the website. She’s also in touch with different OT students and universities from all over Europe, answering and redirecting emails to the others board members. She’s currently working on a map she’d like to post on the website; this map shows OT Schools and Universities across Europe and SPOT representatives. It’s an amazing tool so everyone can see where we have students who you can be in touch with. She hopes the map to be online before the summer holiday.

Charlotte is also the one who write reports after meetings. She has been increasing SPOT’s international community, espacially via the WFOT Congress in South Africa she participated in. Thus Charlotte had the opportunity to talk with OT students about their projects, various experiences, life as OT students in Europe, etc. It allows her to encourage them in writing a blog for us.

 

Jena, social media lead

Jena, our social media lead

She posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts of SPOTeurope. She established themes for some days of the week like the “OT memes Monday” or “Self-care Sunday” or the “Blog Wednesday”. She recently launched our Instagram page! We would like our social medias to be more active. Thus if anyone ever wants something promoted or sees something they’d like posted, feel free to message her on any of the social medias. About Instagram, you can send videos of “OT students’ moments”. Jena will be able to share it with the European OT students’ community!

Valia, outreach lead

Valia contacts and keep in touch with European OT universities who are members of ENOTHE. She informs them about our platform and explains them ways of getting involved. Indeed she conducted a brief explanatory email about SPOTeurope and an additional file with more detailed information. The next plan is to discuss with Marlies which universities have already been informed about SPOTeurope and what our next action will be.

Cassandra, mini SPOT coordinator

Her role is to help you creating and leading mini SPOT in your university. You wonder what a mini SPOT is ? Basically a mini SPOT is a student platform at a university. The platform stands for internationalization at the university. For example at her university in Amsterdam, they organize movie nights with an intercultural theme and they discuss it. Also they create theme days about internationalization. The platform is run by students and for students. Off course a coordinated teacher would be appreciated. Every student can set up a mini SPOT, yet it is important that they are linked to SPOTeurope, that’s why the name mini SPOT. Also the representative of the university should be linked with the SPOT. If you’re interested in creating a mini SPOT in your university, feel free to email Cassandra at minispot@spoteurope.eu.

Maurane, blogger

I look for guest bloggers with the help of SPOT representatives and board members, and manage requests of people who want to write a blog for us. Then I help them writing their blog entries when needed. I write some blogs, like this one. Moreover I manage the articles’ layout: create designs, images, etc. I recently added a comments section under the articles for them to foster discussions and interactions, please feel free to ask anything and react about the blog theme!

As I’ll graduate soon, we are looking for a new blogger for SPOTeurope from October. If you’re interested in joining the board, feel free to email me at blogger@spoteurope.eu to ask me anything about the role (even if you’re not confident in your English skills!).

Breaking news!


Marlies and Vanessa in Gent, Belgium (2018, March)

We are pleased to announce that Alex Lukavsky and Vanessa Röck, Austrian SPOT representatives are now SPOT representatives’ leads. They’ll be happy to offer tips and advice to any representatives.

The Newsletter ! Indeed we are going to share the first newsletter quite soon, you can subscribe entering you name and email address on the right sidebar.

 

 

 


You want to become a guest blogger/SPOT representative/blogger? Or create a mini SPOT in your university? Feel free to ask emailing the board at info@spoteurope.eu, we would be happy to answer you! 

French OT students charity concert

Written by Maurane, with Nolwenn and Sarah, on behalf of ATEEC.

A concert for the benefit of hospitalized children

On Friday May, 18th, the OT students association of Tours, France, organized a charity concert in a café concert named Les 3 Orfèvres. This concert took place as part of the action of Ampli Mutuelle, a health mutual, named Nez pour Sourire, for the organization Le Rire Médecin.

Le Rire Medecin is a French organization who trains clowns for them to bring joy and cheerfulness to hospitalized children. Thus, every year, the Nez Pour Sourire action is launched to raise fund for supporting clowns training. For this purpose, various students organizations all over France sell goodies like Red Noses and other stuffs. This concert were then organized as part of this action by ATEEC, supported by UNAEE.

What is ATEEC?

ATEEC is Tours OT students association. The board has 18 OT students, who enliven student life organizing events, managing partnerships, setting up tutoring before exams, implementing prevention actions, participating in sports events, and many other things. Thus, Nolwenn and Corentin (see the photo opposite!) managed the organization of the concert, Margot and Sarah handled the fundraising for the charity action, and all the board members help them out for everything to be fine.

 

The concert!

Singers were 4 OT students, and 1 friend of them, who is a Adapted Physical Activity student. They sang and played guitar and piano. They had a 1h30 concert with French and international covers.

This brand new experience was really appreciated by all the board members, singers, students and crowd. Moreover it allowed ATEEC to raise funds for them and for Nez Pour Sourire.

“It was great to bring students together in a charity action, and promote OT students talents at the same time”, Nolwenn told. “It was not as hard to organize as it seemed to be at the beginning, she added that it was just about being prepared and organised. OT students have talents, it’s great to share them and use them for a cause like that.”

And now, try for yourself !

If you have any question or reaction about this event, feel free to leave a comment bellow !

 

 

See you soon! Maurane.

My international fieldwork placement in Trois-Rivières, Canada

Hi everyone, Maurane’s speaking ! Today I’m going to tell you about this amazing experience I’ve had last year : my international occupational therapy fieldwork placement in Trois-Rivières, QC, Canada.

When ?

I’ve been there from May, 5th to July, 18th, 2017, as a 2nd year OT student. For 8 weeks I’ve had an awesome placement, and then I spent 10 days road-tripping across Quebec.

Where ?

I was in Trois-Rivières, Canada, a French-speaking city. My placement took place in the local teaching hospital, especially in family medicine, pneumology, orthopaedic, urology, gastroenterology and vascular surgery departments, mainly with elderly people. Both of my supervisors were referent for several of the following departments, but they were attached to the rehabilitation department.

Why ?

I wanted to step out of my comfort zone experiencing something new, far from my country, my culture and my habits. I also wanted to get to know another way to provide occupational therapy services, especially in North America, OT birthplace.

What ?

I learned so many things ! On an individual level and of course professionally, this placement really impressed me. I feel this was the first time I really felt as an OT.

Personal development

Stepping out of my comfort zone and experiencing totally new stuffs alone was much rewarding. Indeed I had no choice but to cope with any situations in everyday life by my own. I’ve had issues with lodging in the first week I was there. I’ve had to move from my place, thus I had to look for another place to live. I managed this by my own, without my parents assisting me, and it went well ! Then I was pretty proud and I feel more confident now as I know that I’m able to manage this kind of situations by my own.

Moreover I met awesome people there. I took the time to get to know them and their culture, I discovered a way of life I didn’t know before, which got me think about my own philosophy and lifestyle. Even if they speak French and live in a western culture, I felt differences in people’s behaviors and values. In general terms I felt they were much optimistic about life ! I also met people coming from all over the world travelling during week ends. I became less afraid to start a conversation with people I don’t know, which is also an advantage in professional practice !

Professional development

I’ve had to adapt to a brand new health care system, professional environment, and culture in a short period of time. First, I gained confidence in my adaptative skills as I’ve had no troubles accommodating to this unfamiliar environment. Secondly I learnt working with great rigor. My supervisors were more demanding than I’ve had ever experience in France, especially about professional writings. I learnt to use accurate terms when forwarding information to other professionals, in both oral and written form. During this placement I also felt that OT practice was more evidence based than it is in France, as research is also way more fertile. Thus I understood the importance of developing research in OT in France as it’s essential to expand and enhance our practice.

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Standing in front of the Cogeco Auditorium in Trois-Rivières.

I would never recommend you enough to travel and experience unfamiliar fieldwork placement settings !

Feel free to react and ask me any question you may have.

Email : blogger@spoteurope.eu // Twitter : @maurane_ctr

 

Introducing Me: Maurane!

Hi! I’m Maurane, the new SPOTeurope blogger!

Here’s a short blog post to introduce myself and tell you more about my role.

Introducing me

I’m a 3rd year student in Tours Occupational Therapy School. In France our curriculum is 3 years long so I expect  to graduate on July this year. I come from a little town 50 kilometres south of Paris, but I moved in Tours to study. It’s a really nice city; there are so many fun things to do and many beautiful castles around to see!

I really enjoy travelling in France and abroad! Recently I’ve spend a few days in Brussels, Belgium. Otherwise I’ve been to Amsterdam, Prague, Venice, London, Bournemouth, Seville, Granada, Cordoba, and I want to explore many more European cities! I speak French, English and Spanish a little.

Finally, I’m passionate about occupational therapy! Since I started studying OT I’ve never got bored learning, providing OT services and meeting so many different people.

My role in SPOTeurope: Blogger

As SPOTeurope blogger, I’ll post blog entries twice a month on Wednesdays. Through these blog posts, I want to share information, tips and tricks, projects, events, experiences, etc. with you. I’d like my articles to incite you to meet and connect with each other. Some of the blog entries are going to be written by me and some others by YOU, or other people related to occupational therapy.

As a European OT student, this blog is yours as well as mine! Indeed, you have the opportunity to write an article as guest blogger, about anything you want to share that may interest other European OT students! I’m here to support you, provide you advice and guidelines for you to write your blog post.

I’ll also manage the forum, where you’ll be able to discuss and chat about the blog post theme and anything you want about being an OT student in Europe.

Feel free to send me an email at blogger@spoteurope.eu if you have any requests for articles or if you may be interested in writing an article! Looking forward hearing your ideas

(Published by Charlotte on behalf of author Maurane)

HAN International Week 2018- Challenge your Borders. Health and Social Work in International Perspective.

What is International Week?

HAN University of Applied Sciences in Nijmegen (Netherlands) holds an annual International Week to promote the sharing of experiences and knowledge of internationalisation in the context of health and social care. There are over 125 workshops from students and professionals from around the world.

What did you do?

SPOTeurope and HAN international week share similar aims and values, so we were asked to come along and deliver workshops on the benefit of a European platform for Occupational Therapy (OT) students.

Myself, Marlies and Kina (one of our new MiniSPOT Coordinators), wanted the workshop to help students understand what SPOTeurope and ENOTHE are, as well as the benefits of internationalisation (check out our blog on the 2017 ENOTHE annual meeting). As always, we felt it was important for all students to feel that SPOTeurope is their platform as much as ours, so we were keen to hear their ideas for SPOT improvements.

As we are also setting up a ‘Mini SPOT’ at HAN, we brainstormed how people would like to be involved in this and the most effective ways to share information.

You can see our presentation here.

What were the outcomes?

At the beginning and end of the sessions we asked students what words spring to mind when they think of SPOTeurope. We were pretty pleased with what they came up with:

  Word cloud from start of session

    Word cloud at end of session

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are 3 questions we asked and the ideas students came up with:

1) What are the unique characteristics of OT and OT education in the Netherlands?

  • OT education is very practical.
  • Opportunities for specialisation (in the form of a taking a minor)
  • Entrepreneurship- HAN OT course is the only healthcare profession to receive this national award!

2) What would you like to know about OT in other European countries?

  • How does the healthcare system work? (As we can learn from each other’s systems!)
  • What does OT education look like?
  • What do other countries view as the principal element of OT?

3) What do you feel are the benefits of Internationalisation?

  • Distribution of research.
  • Understanding of different cultures (resulting in improved therapist/client relationship).
  • Exchanging ideas, information, problems, interventions etc will make us better therapists.
  • It can improve OT education.

 What were the benefits for students?

Students identified that they weren’t necessarily sure which features of OT were unique to the Netherlands. This opened up more questions about other countries and highlighted why internationalisation is important. We were all surprised to find how different our education is; for example, in the UK we have short placements (or internships) in each year of study, whereas the Netherlands have a 6-month placement in their 3rd and 4th year!!

It was also really nice to see that Occupational Therapy in both the Netherlands and England have the same emphasis on reflection, person centred practice and occupation, and we hope that’s the same across Europe!

What were the benefits for SPOT:

Thanks to the input from students, we have a better idea on what SPOTeurope should offer and how to improve students access to internationalisation. Their input on our ‘MiniSPOT’ makes us confident going forward with this new project, which will focus on intercultural activities in our own schools and neighbourhoods, not just internationally. These are just some of the ideas SPOTeurope will be putting in place soon:

  • SPOTeurope Instagram.
  • Country specific information on the website.

Ideas for SPOTeurope’s future!

Ideas for SPOTeurope’s future!

 

Thanks for having us HAN!

Check out HAN’s Instagram and website. #HANIW2018

 

ENOTHE Annual Meeting 2017

In October, Marlies (SPOT President) and I were lucky enough to attend the ENOTHE 2017 Annual Meeting in Zagreb, Croatia. It was a great opportunity to meet students and professionals from across Europe and learn about the different projects people are involved in.

Our role was to hold a student forum to gather ideas about the future direction of SPOTeurope and the role of students in the ENOTHE, which we then presented at the end of the conference. We felt so motivated by the level of enthusiasm from students about SPOTeurope, and the support, ideas and honest feedback we received.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those of you who were there, know it really shaped SPOTeuropes future direction. If you weren’t able to be there, take a look at our presentation to see the student forum feedback and SPOTeuropes dreams and goals.

SPOTeurope will continue to connect students across Europe but now also aims to ensure the active involvement of students in developing OT education!

Thank you to everyone who supported us and continues to support SPOTeurope!

Top Tips for Surviving as a New Student!

As we approach a new year of study, we at SPOT have been reflecting on how we feel now versus how we felt on our first ever days as Occupational Therapy students. Personally, I still feel nervous, excited and unsure of what to expect but now I have a network of peers to share those feelings with and previous students to receive tips from! With that in mind, we’d like to share some tips for brand new students about to embark on their first year studying Occupational Therapy!

(Erma Bombeck, 2017)

 

  • Occupational Balance. You’ll learn about this in lectures but possibly have none in real life! It’s so easy to get bogged down with studying and forget to make time for your leisure activities! Get involved in student activities, go for long walks with the dog, or just trot off down the pub! Whatever it is that you enjoy doing, and helps clear your head, make time for it. It’s so important.. and will also help you feel fresh for studying!

 

  • Be Organised! If you have a smart phone, get your email set up on it so you don’t miss key information! If you know you’re a procrastinator, schedule in study time.

 

  • Know Your Learning Style. Find out your learning style using tools such as the online VARK Questionnaire (VARK Learning Limited, 2017) or Honey and Mumford (1986) online learner questionnaire (ELN, 2015) to understand how you learn best. I found this useful in determining the most effective way of note taking in class. It also helped me understand those who do things differently to me. (Links to online questionnaires can be found in the reference list)

 

  • Seek Help! Most universities offer extra financial help and creche’s, as well as academic help like writing skills and maths, which anyone can access. If you’re having difficulty, seek help early rather than struggle alone, you’ll be amazed what’s on offer!

 

  • Get Feedback. Whether you do worse or better than you anticipated in an assignment, get feedback from your marker. They will always say something surprising that will help you in future assignments.

 

  • There Will Be Ups and Downs. It’s OK to have doubts and not to love every lecture on every topic. Don’t give yourself a hard time for this, but do share these feelings with your support network to get some perspective.

 

  • Wider Reading. When I was last studying, most information was spoon fed to me by teachers. University is different. It can be tempting not to do the wider reading your lecturers recommend but reading research, getting involved in twitter conversations etc is how you develop a greater depth to your knowledge.

 

  • Use Social Media. Twitter, Facebook, blogs etc all help you develop your voice as an OT, meet inspiring people and discover areas that excite you.

 

  • Don’t Be Intimidated. Whether you’re a mature student or fresh out of school, you’re all in this together and all have something to offer. Talk to people of different ages and backgrounds as well as those you share similarities with. There’s a lot to learn from everyone!

 

  • Take Opportunities. I missed a lot of opportunities in my first-year due to thinking “I’m too old” or “I’m just a student, I don’t know enough.” OT’s are wonderful people and most are excited to hear student voices and support student led initiatives. If you have an idea, share it!

 

  • Be Proud of Yourself! You’ve got into university, you’re doing something new, you’re following your dream. Take a moment to tell yourself well done!

  (TheLatestKate, 2015)

 

If you have any tips, share them with us via:

Twitter: @SPOTeurope

Facebook: @SPOTeurope

 Or on our forum: https://www.spoteurope.eu/OTforum/

Don’t forget to use #OTStudentTips

 

References:

Erma Bombeck (2017) You Can Do It. Available at: http://www.oecnhs.info/listynum-you-can-do-it-quotes-tumblr.html (Accessed 5 September 2017)

Honey, P. & Mumford, A. (1986) The Manual of Learning Styles. Maidenhead, Peter Honey.

The E-Learning Network (ELN) (2015) ‘Honey & Mumford Learner Types (1986) Quiz’, Available at: http://resources.eln.io/honey-mumford-learner-types-1986-questionnaire-online/ (Accessed 5 September 2017).

TheLatestKate (2015) Available at: http://thelatestkate.tumblr.com/post/124386559149/the-thing-you-can-do-it (Accessed 5 September 2017).

VARK Learning Limited (2017) ‘The VARK Questionnaire. How Do I Learn Best?’ Available at: http://vark-learn.com/the-vark-questionnaire/(Accessed 5 September 2017).

 

 

 

OT24Vx

ot4head2

If you haven’t heard of OT24Vx you’re in for a treat! Well what is it you ask me? I’ll quote the website and let them explain:

It is a free, online, 24 hour conference for occupational therapists.
OT = Occupational therapy
24=24 hours
Vx=Virtual exchange

Whilst acknowledging the value of global connections for occupational therapists, we noticed that many OTs miss out on traditional avenues of connecting at conferences due to cost and time required. For some OTs a conference could cost as much as a whole year’s salary, but the need for equitable access to knowledge transfer opportunities is vital in a profession that continues to grow. In a world where technology is becoming more and more ubiquitous many occupational therapists are gaining techno-confidence. Thus the idea of designing and delivering a 24 hour free real time online conference for knowledge sharing was born.
We chose World OT Day in 2010 as our first OT24Vx and following its success we have run one annually since then. The  OT24Vx has run in collaboration with the World Federation of Occupational Therapists since 2014.

You can read all about it at their website and learn what you can do to prepare yourself for the upcoming conference in November!

You can also follow the team on twitter!

Sarah Bodell, Susan Burwash, Anita Hamilton, Angela Hook, Karen Jacobs, & Merrolee Penman