Student news: OT school in Bremen & Hand Therapy Project.

Our school ‘Fachschule für Ergotherapie’ is the only school for Occupational Therapy in Bremen. It was founded in 2015 and is located in the northern part of Bremen.

In 2018, it got the WFOT approval and became a member of ENOTHE. We have about sixty students in three classes and four teachers as well as several guest lecturers.

To the school administration it is very important that we work and learn practically; which means that we work in projects for example in elementary schools, homes for the elderly and those with mental health conditions.

The education is not only based on theory but mainly on different case studies. We are currently working on a study with a six year old boy called David. The subject is to learn about pediatrics: low muscle tone and sensory processing disorder.Mrs. Winter, another case study, helps us to understand the details of geriatrics and the related consequences.

In Germany, the apprenticeship for occupational therapists takes three years and is followed by an exam. After the successful completion of the apprenticeship it is possible to study and achieve a Bachelor’s or a Master’s degree.

A subject of discussion is that in some of the German states the apprentices have to pay a monthly fee to go to school. These costs are not covered by the government. In the state of Bremen the current cost for the education is 180 € per month. The consequence is that the money discourages some people from starting the Occupational Therapy education. It is planned that by the end of the summer at the latest, the fee will disappear completely.


About me:

My name is Martyna Gwiazda, I am currently studying Occupational Therapy in Wroclaw, Poland. In this article, I seek to present my next multidisciplinary project which I have high prospects for.

What is the project?

My next project sees me cooperating with individuals from other degree disciplines instead of students from areas within Occupational Therapy like my previous project. I mostly worked with students of Physiotherapy and Mechanics and our approach can be broken down into many systematic steps.

Firstly, we explored the plan extensively not just with each other but with professional Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists. This was so we could carry out anupper and lower extremity test.The result was creating a device/apparatus to develop the Palmar Flexion of the wrist. Below you can see an initial concept design created by our main Mechanic student:

This device/apparatus is made from metal, makes use of springs so that its powered by users’ muscles, and uses four props for support. 

Was it successful?

I am satisfied with the initial results of the project and it highlights the significance of working in a group. 

The main positives of working in a multi-professional team is taking advantage of different perspectives on research methods and solutions. It also builds a strong base for future career development and lets professionals gain a new source of inspiration. Another skill that is developed is interpersonal skills.

Recently I’m working on a new project and I’m convinced about continuing with the positives of multi-professional collaboration. Incase there are any events about the role of OT and the healthcare system please feel welcome to inform me. Also, I’d like to create new wonderful concepts and solutionsAt the national and international stage.

Rehabilitation Centre in Switzerland: An OT perspective!

Introduction…

Jelena, 23 years old, studies Occupational Therapy (grade 4) at ZUYD Hogeschool in Heerlen. She and a friend of hers, Lea Gnida, went to Switzerland to do an internship. They were both looking very forward to their trip to Switzerland. They worked as interns in a rehabilitation centre in Valens, a small village on top of a mountain with a height of about 1000 meters. The rehabilitation centre was located in a large building where a lot of people from different backgrounds are working. In this centre work a lot of different specialized teams such as: occupational therapists, physiotherapists, creative therapists, music therapists, equine therapists, speech therapists, nurses, and doctors. The first three days of the internship were mainly to get to know the rehabilitation centre and to get familiar with their treatment plans. After those three days Jelena was made fully responsible for her own clients and work. Especially in the beginning she found this very difficult. She was not used to work all by herself because she had never been put in a situation like this during her previous internships.

How easy was it to adjust to the language?

During her first weeks in Switzerland, Jelena experienced also some difficulties with speaking and understanding Swiss. Jelena was born in Germany. She told me that she watched television series in Swiss and bought a Swiss language book to learn and understand more about the language before actually going to Switzerland. During her internship Jelena soon noticed that Swiss was even more difficult to understand than expected. Fortunately (almost) all of the therapists and clients spoke German, so it was very handy for Jelena. Everybody was very understanding and gave Jelena the time to learn and understand the language. After several weeks she was finally able to understand people who lived nearby the rehabilitation centre. However, the dialects from other parts of Switzerland were sometimes too difficult to understand.

Jelena said that it helped a lot that she spoke German, but she also thinks that someone from the Netherlands who has some knowledge of the German language will not encounter any problems with understanding Swiss.

Many of the people Jelena worked with were not from Switzerland and spoke German with each other a lot of the time.

Was it an international team?

During the team consults people from different professions consulted with each other about various topics. Differences between the various disciplines were not seen as important because there were working many people from different countries, with different professions. Once in a while they also held team meetings, during these meetings therapists were able to talk about cases in which they experienced some difficulties. After those meetings they planned a consult with the client in which they gave some information about the different treatments they had given so far. By doing so, the whole team was able to think about how they could improve and maybe even change their treatment plans. Jelena said that she found these meetings always very interesting and that she learned a lot from these meetings.

How was the experience in general?

Jelena said she had a very pleasant stay in Switzerland. The one thing she didn’t like was being away from home for three months and not being able to see her boyfriend and friends. Of course, she was very happy that she was able to go to Switzerland with her friend Lea, so she wasn’t all alone. Jelena and Lea shared a room in a house were the rest of the staff was also housed. In this house they had to share a kitchen and a bathroom with other roommates.

Jelena told me that she received an internship fee which was about 1200 Swiss Francs (± 900 euro). She had to pay about 450 euros for her room. In Switzerland everything is a little bit more expensive than in the Netherlands or in Germany. Mostly meat was very pricey. So, Jelena and Lea decided that they were going to eat more veggies and less meat during their stay in Switzerland.

What did the internship include?

Jelena worked 42 hours per week at the rehabilitation centre, but there were some weeks that she worked overtime. In the morning they always began with an ADL-observation and after this the individual treatments followed. In the afternoon she always helped out with group therapy sessions. These therapies took place at different locations, for example at a school. At these locations there were different rooms with a bed, kitchen etc. During her internship Jelena was able to do a lot of her work independently. By doing so, she noticed very quickly what was good for her and what wasn’t.

Her supervisors were only present during treatments when needed. This was something that Jelena experienced as very pleasant. At first, she tried to work very precisely, so she was always very busy after work and in the weekends because she had to prepare a lot of things on beforehand. At one point, she noticed that this was too much for her to handle and she decided to make a change. She tried to do some of the work during the therapy sessions, so she immediately could learn from her mistakes. This made Jelena feel more stress-resistant. She also was very happy that there wasn’t always someone checking up on her and looking over her shoulders while working. When she needed help, she could always count on her supervisor. ‘Everyone was so nice and kind to me. Everyone always wanted to help me’.

Once a month Jelena talked with a teacher from her school in the Netherlands via Skype. During these sessions they talked about personal matters but also about her internship.

How did you spend your free time?

Of course, Jelena was not always working during her internship. The surrounding areas of the rehabilitation centre were very beautiful. She loved to hike in the mountains and she also went to a ski area which was close by. In this ski area they went up and down the mountains with a sled and there was also a funicular railway. Near the rehabilitation centre was a city where Jelena went shopping, to the movies or had dinner with some friends. During the weekends they took the car and travelled through the area. It was very useful for Jelena and Lea to have a car, because the public transport in Switzerland was very expensive.   

Would you recommend it?

Jelena would definitely go back to Switzerland if she had the chance. She learned a lot from her internship because it was a place where a lot of independence was required. It is also very important that you can cope with stressful situations, if you are interested in doing an internship like this. One of the main reasons why she enjoyed this internship so much was because she worked with people from different nationalities and disciplines. These people had very different views and ideas about work. So, Jelena learned a lot about multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural work. The rehabilitation centre was a very nice place to work where you could always learn from everyone and from every experience.

Guest blog experience: OT internship in Linköping, Sweden

About me

My name is Jurn Veenstra, I am a 24-year old Occupational Therapy student. I have started my 4th semester of my education at Zuyd Hogeschool in Heerlen. I had the opportunity to do an internship abroad and learn more about the world of Occupational Therapy (OT). I made the decision to go to Sweden’s 6th largest city, Linköping. I have lived there from the beginning of August till 11 December. In Linköping I did an internship at a university hospital. During this period, I was working together at the hospital with a multi-disciplinary team.

In August I started with an intensive Swedish course of 4 weeks.

In our first school week we had a so-called international week where we learnt the basics of the Swedish (again) language and some medical terminology. During the international week I met a lot of fellow international students who were living in the same neighbourhood as me.

I made the decision to do my internship in Sweden because it seemed very interesting to me to work and live abroad, I heard that Occupational Therapy should be on a higher level then back home and because of the fact that Sweden was always on the to visit list. It was also a great opportunity for me to learn more about Sweden and have a little holiday break as well.

I was most scared about the fact that it was going to be just me, living independently in Sweden. Here, in the Netherlands there are always friends and family who live close by and can give advice and support to you when needed. In Sweden I was going to be all by myself which was very exciting for me.

What was the internship?

During my stay in Linköping I worked at two different units located in the same building. One unit was a neurological care division for people who required serious care after they had been in a motorcycle accident or stroke for example. The orthopaedics unit was for students who were following a medical training in Swedish. These students were responsible for maintaining a daily structure. During the two weeks I had worked there it was our responsibility, as international students, to observe and evaluate daily tasks. Sometimes we also helped the team out. During this period, I have learnt how to measure the blood pressure, how to draw blood and how to check for blood cells under a microscope.

At the revalidation unit I was responsible for the care of four patients, with the help of my supervisor of course. These patients needed several hours of therapy a day, like a wheelchair training, arm-hand function training and activities of daily living like cooking. We also went on house visits. We worked with the same process model as we use in the Netherlands, named CPPF.

I was already familiar with this model because I had used it for some projects I had done in an earlier stage of my study. We also used FIM assessments, PRPP observations, Los Ranchos Amigos Scale and other assessments.

When I look back on my time in Sweden and my internship, I can conclude that OT in Sweden is very similar to OT in the Netherlands. The guidance and advice of my supervisor has been really helpful. She translated everything for me during meetings with professionals and with patients who couldn’t speak English.

One thing which was very surprising for me, was the fact the hospital was not familiar with ICF domains. This was something that still had to be implemented. They were planning to do so in the future.

I had a very pleasant stay in Sweden and had a great time during my internship. I have had no negative experiences, besides for being sick for a week. When I was sick, I quickly noticed that the health care system in Sweden is very different in comparison with the Dutch health care system. I had to call different doctors and hospitals before I got the help I needed. The waiting time was also extremely long. Because of this I had to extend my stay for two weeks to make sure I had worked enough hours at the hospital. During this time a lot of people I became friends with were already back home and this made me feel kind of lonely. At this time I wanted to go home as soon as possible.

What was most surprising to me was that you can communicate in different ways with patients although there is a language barrier. You can use sign or body language. I found this very interesting and I would like to do an additional course for sign language as soon as I finish this study.

I bought a bike which was very useful to make my way through town or to the hospital as well. You could go from one side to the other in half an hour (more or less). The other Dutch student had a car sometimes we used it to go to places which was very handy!

Exploring Sweden

Besides working there was also time for some relaxation of course. I have travelled a lot through Sweden. I have visited Stockholm multiple times, Kiruna, Narvik and the surrounding areas of Linköping (I saw the northern lights in the last 3 places). We also went to ice hockey games and had drinks and dinners with other students from the hospital.

The most important thing I have learned from this experience is that even though you don’t speak the native language of a country it is still possible to communicate with people and to accomplish your goals.

I would describe my stay in Sweden in two words, both exciting and interesting. I would definitely recommend other students to go abroad but I would also like to remind them to look up some information about a country on beforehand. By doing so you will be guaranteed that you are going to a place where OT is known and where you can learn a lot.

UNAEE: National Association of French OT students

The first UNAEE event of 2019 took place in Nevers, France, in March!

But first, what’s UNAEE?

UNAEE is the National Association of French OT students. Its main goals are to defend French OT student’s rights and interests, to represent them within deciding bodies of the institutions and give them opportunities in order to make the most out of their studies. The UNAEE was also created to build a network between the OT students from the various institutes in France. That is why we organize yearly events gathering OT students from all over the country! 

So what was this event?

During a rainy March weekend, our “Week-end de formation” or “WEF” took place in Nevers. It gathered about 170 students from all over France. The weekend’s theme was voted by the students via Facebook and they chose “Occupational therapy and mental health”. 

What happened during the WEF?

The weekend started off with the UNAEE’s general assembly where the UNAEE board members presented their current projects. 

After a very amusing laughter yoga collective session, the workshops began. On Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, the students participated in a series of workshops and lectures touching on “OT and mental health”, but also about opportunities that are available to them and their rights as OT students. For example, some OT professionals came to talk to us about working as an OT in a prison setting, the OT intervention with patients on the autism spectrum or suffering from addictions, mindfulness and OT, etc. 

Students from other health care professions also came to exchange on the importance of interdisciplinary work when caring for patients suffering from mental health issues. Students could also participate in workshops such as “How to organize an event?”, “How to bring sustainable development to your institute?” and “How to build an international solidarity project?”.


I got the chance to lead a workshop to promote international mobility and had some of my fellow students testify about some of their experiences abroad and we answered the student’s questions. Camille talked about her 2 months placement experience in Quebec, Canada whereas Margot shared with us her experience at the ENOTHE annual event in Portugal. She and François presented their adventure in Madagascar as members of the 2018 PSIEE (the UNAEE’s international solidarity project). I was also able to promote SPOT and the mini SPOT concept. I really wanted to show the many ways in which experiencing internationalization is possible.

To top it off, we all got to celebrate and have fun Saturday night all dressed up and colorful in our 80s inspired outfits! 

All in all, the best part of the week-end is being able to witness the French OT student network come to life thanks to new encounters as well as being reunited with friends you’ve met during previous UNAEE events!

Emma SCHLINQUER

Vice-President in charge of international relations and mobility at the UNAEE 

2ndyear OT student in Lille, France

International Thesis in Bali, Indonesia

My international experience with a thesis in Bali, Indonesia

About me

My name is Naomi de Graaf, I am a 22 year old Occupational Therapy student at the University of Arnhem and Nijmegen (HAN) in the Netherlands. This year I started my fourth (last) year of education. It consists of a half year thesis (first semester) and a half year internship (second semester). Now I am doing an internship in a hospital in the Netherlands, but before that I did a thesis in Bali for 3 months. I am very excited to share my experiences with you! I was there from October 2nd till January 15th, 2018/2019.

 

Bali, Indonesia

Bali is a small island in Indonesia, South East Asia. Compared to other islands of Indonesia, Bali is already the most westernized. My stay was the Indonesian concept of luxury, I had my own studio with shared pool. Through a teacher from my university I had a contact person in Bali, who helped to find shelter, visa and so on. I quickly felt at home in Bali because of the incredibly friendly people, the free and relaxed life, warm weather and the beautiful nature. When I returned to the Netherlands, I had more problems with a culture shock, because of everything that must be done quickly in Europe and the high expectations. In Bali traffic is very busy, they drive on the left and there are many scooters. I had to ride scooter in Bali- At the beginning I found this very scary, but at the end I managed to drive through all the traffic and I loved it!

Thesis

I did research in Bali together with two other Occupational Therapy students and two Physiotherapy students in a hospital setting. In Bali, they didn’t promote the importance of rehabilitation and exercise after stroke to its full potential. The project had been developing for two years and our part was to implement the already made leaflets with exercises for home rehabilitation.

I have learned that it is very important to adapt to the culture. In addition, we as a group have learned to work more independently. I found the difference between a hospital in The Netherlands and Bali very interesting. The collaboration between the professionals was not always successful and they didn’t use guidelines effectively. Because of this I realised the importance of these behaviours. Working in a multidisciplinary group created a challenge; the Physiotherapy students preferred different work methods than the Occupational Therapy students. I have learned to share my opinion and have the confidence to know when to adapt myself or not. I would recommend everyone to do your thesis abroad or in a multidisciplinary group, because you learn a lot personally and professionally!

Occupational Therapy in Asia

Occupational Therapy isn’t as widely established in Bali as in The Netherlands, but it doesn’t matter! You can learn a lot, because we had to promote our profession and transfer our knowledge from Europe. By sharing your knowledge, you learn again.

I hope you enjoyed my experiences!

Greetings, Naomi de Graaf

an insight into the role of Student Representative

   written by Marlies, SPOTeurope President & ENOTHE Student Representative

HI EVERYONE!
As some of you may know, last October I became the first student on the ENOTHE board (European Network of Occupational Therapy in Higher Education) to fulfil the role of student representative.

This means that YOUR student voice is now heard, valued and can influence the decision making of the ENOTHE board! Please contact me when you have ideas and/or suggestions which I can share in the board. Every idea is welcome!

To have an idea on the variety of topics on which you can give input, I’d really like to share with you my experiences as the student representative in the ENOTHE board.


BACKGROUND INFO

Before telling my experiences it’s good to have some background information and to know where it all started. The ENOTHE aims to:

  • support, develop and improve educational programs for European occupational therapists that are comparable, of high quality, relevant and responsive to changes in society
  • promote OT within European Higher Education systems in all three educational cycles, research and innovation

Once a year the ENOTHE has a three day conference (the Annual Meeting) where teachers and students from all over Europe gather to share ideas and experiences. I visited my first ENOTHE Annual Meeting (AM) in 2015. There I learned how much fun and of what great value it is to meet with international OT students and teachers. We have so many different ideas and opinions and can learn so much from one another! That AM my enthusiasm for internationalization started and has grown ever since (:

During my very first AM, I got in touch with students who had the idea of setting up a platform for OT students to stay connected throughout the year. I got involved, other students graduated and I took the lead in developing the platform. Throughout the years we’ve grown a lot and got to work closely with ENOTHE. More and more SPOTeurope was asked to give their student opinion and input for increasing student engagement within ENOTHE.

In 2017 at the AM @ Zagreb, SPOTeurope hosted for the first time a student meeting in which all participating students brainstormed about the future of SPOT & ENOTHE. One of the important outcomes was the wish of having a student as a board member of ENOTHE. After pitching and advocating, there is agreed on having a trial year. In this trial year it’s my ‘duty’ to define and shape the role. At the end of this trial year I’ll advise the ENOTHE board on how to proceed based on my experiences and input from all of you.

WHAT HAVE I BEEN UP TO?
This first year is all about shaping this role. I take part and get involved in the day to day tasks of the ENOTHE board. The board involves me in everything, e.g. finances, projects, emails from members, decisions that needs to be taken. They really treat me as an equal, which makes it much easier to give feedback and bring up new ideas! I aim to have more student engagement, so when I see an opportunity to get students involved, I’ll give my opinion and/or feedback. For example the criteria “have at least one student being part of the project group” has added to the project-guideline for an ENOTHE Project.

Next to the day to day tasks of ENOTHE, I’m also participating in the monthly skype sessions and face to face meetings. Last December was the first face to face meeting with this new board. During this meeting I prepared a session to brainstorm about their ideas and vision on the Student Representative role. I’ve asked them the same questions as SPOT asked the students during the Student Session @ AM in Portugal last October, in order to compare our student ideas with the ENOTHE board ideas to see which bridges needs to be build this year which will bring us closer in making this role into a success for both students and teachers.

The next face to face meeting is coming up in April. This meeting is mainly about the next AM, which is going to take place in Athens. We’ll have the meeting in Athens as well (Yay!) to check the venue, speak to the organizing committee etc. We’re also going to develop the program and decide which abstracts will be accepted that’s have been send in (abstract submission is April 15th, 2019 – so if you want to give a presentation, workshop or share your project through a poster; don’t forget to submit your abstract!). One of the things that’s on top of my to do list when I’m in Athens is to meet with students from The Metropolitan College – who will host this AM. I want to get to know them, inform them about procedures, brainstorm with them, see if and how I can assist in the upcoming months and which ideas they have which I can bring to the ENOTHE board.

Not only do I want to meet students in Athens to hear their ideas and suggestions, as a student representative I represent your voice as well! So..

Contactdetails: INSTA, FACEBOOK & EMAIL: marliesnijenhuis@spoteurope.eu

The FAB Program- Connecting OT students from Finland, Austria & Belgium

Hello, I’m Tom Pauwaert from Belgium and I’m in my final year studying OT and got the opportunity to join the FAB program. 

So what is the FAB program?

The FAB project is a very unique project because it’s the only joint degree at bachelor level in Europe. It’s a joint program in the last semester of your study as an OT with approximately 20 students in total and 12 teachers from Metropolia University in Finland, FH Campus Wien in Austria and Artevelde University College in Ghent. It consists of 6 modules.

The first one was in Belgium in December, where we went on an urban exploration and got divided into groups of 5 to explore a district in Ghent. In this exploration we talked to a lot of people from different nationalities and asked about their occupation. On Friday every group gave a presentation about their district in a creative way. 

With this way of teaching rather than sitting in a classroom and listening to a teacher, we could teach our fellow students about the key concepts like:

-Urbanization & Community Development

-Gentrification & Inclusive design

-Occupational justice

-Transformation through occupation

-Occupation consciousness of the districts.

In February there was a week in Helsinki, Finland.

There, the theme of the week was module 2: “the future of OT by 2030”. There were really broad themes such as technology, internationalization, demographic changes and participation for working life. The brainstorming sessions were about where and what OT’s will do in the future. It was fascinating to see the different perspectives from every group. Each group presented what the emerging roles might be in the future.

After the week in Helsinki all the students are doing an internship abroad for 12 weeks in module 3. In my case, I’m currently doing an internship in neurology in the Donauspital in Vienna. All the students are doing module 4: Health Promotion at the university that is responsible for them during the internship. There we are working in small groups about health prevention and health promotion. During you’re internship you get time to write your bachelor thesis, that’s the 5th module.

In June we will have the final week module 6 of the FAB project in Vienna. Here we will go further into urban exploration, building up on the knowledge we achieved in Belgium.

 What was your overall experience of the program?

In my case, this project has been an outstanding experience so far. This cooperation is beneficial for your personal development as an OT but also learning about the cultural differences between the countries and in fields which OT’s work. In little groups during the week you get to know everybody from the FAB project really good and we’re becoming one big family.

This project will grow in the future and I would recommend it! It has shown me that during this week you get motivated by the teamwork. After every week I come home inspired and ready to go further in my development as an OT! 

If you have a further question you can reach me at:

Instagram: tpauwie

International Mobility Week- Would YOU take part?

This week’s post is all about International Mobility Weeks!

What are they?

International mobility weeks enable students from different locations to get together and exchange ideas about being an Occupational Therapist in their country. They consist of lectures, workshops and group activities, helping to develop a professional identity and understand alternative approaches to OT.

Each mobility week generally focuses on a particular topic, such as “Public Health” or “Primary Care” and would include relevant discussions about current issues or challenges within that sector. Throughout the mobility week, students would work together on a project and reflect on their learning and the benefits of sharing their ideas.

There are three mobility weeks each year:

  1. November in Amsterdam at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS)
  2. January in Winterthur at the ZHAW 
  3. May in Stockholm at the Karolinska Institute

 

Lisa Poland, reflects on her experience in Switzerland!

In the week of 14th– 18th of January 2019 I went, together with three other students of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, to the mobility week in Switzerland. The university where the mobility week was held was the ZHAW in Winterthur. The theme of this week was ‘Professional Identity and it’s visibility’.

This course was only available for OT students and we talked about the contribution of Occupational Therapy compared to the other professions. We also discussed ways how we can promote Occupational Therapy throughout the world. During the course we worked together in different groups with students from different countries. This was very nice since everybody was very enthusiastic and open to new ideas. This also gave us the opportunity to discuss some of the differences in Occupational Therapy between our countries.

In the mobility week we completed multiple interactive assignments. These all contributed to the final product; which was a poster presentation. Before the presentation we needed to make a poster where we explained Occupational Therapy to a specific target group. During the presentation this poster was presented taking into account the target group to which the poster was addressed.

Beside the course we also had the chance to discover some of Switzerland. We walked around, went shopping in Winterthur and also visited the viewpoint, which gave us a beautiful outlook across town. This was very enjoyable, but there were also more attractions in Winterthur such as the different art museums and castles. As well as Winterthur, we also had the opportunity to see the biggest waterfall, the Rheinfall.

In short, it was a very interesting week which we were glad not to have missed! It was an enriching experience for each and every one of us and we would do it again in an instant!

 

 

 

 

I recommend everyone to participate in a mobility week so you can broaden your knowledge and learn about OT from different perspectives and cultures!

Greetings,

Lisa Poland

Second year BSc student at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

Feel free to contact me at lisa.poland@hva.nl if you have any questions 😊

 

Upcoming Mobility Week in Sweden!

The next mobility week will take place at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. The theme for the week is ‘Professional Identity from a Global Perspective’, and will include thought provoking seminars and lectures around current global health issues. The deadline to apply is 5thApril 2019.

 

Greetings world from wintery Denmark!


About me

My name is Marie, I am a 26-year-old OT student and I’ve just started my 5thsemester (out of seven, they are 6 months each) of my education at UCN, University College Nordjylland.                                I have been a part of SPOTEurope for about a year now or at least since last years COHEHRE conference in Belgium where I met sweet Marlies, who introduced me to the SPOT world.

For the moment I am very busy with our exams plus starting an internship and so forth. Student life, you know? But I am currently working on starting a MINI spot at my university. I have spoken to some other universities in Denmark and we are all very keen on starting the project. It is still an ongoing project and we are only in the beginning phase, but I have no doubt that the MINI spot will happen very soon in Denmark. But Rome wasn’t built in one day (as far as I know)!

 

International Project GO4EOT

In the end of last year, I also attended an international project called GO4EOT with students from Belgium, Sweden and Austria – I was the only Dane. We all met on Skype and discussed different target groups in our countries and how they were deprived of occupation.  We were then divided into groups where we chose a specific area to work with- my group chose inmates, who are about to be released from prison. We did a lot of work researching, talking to people who work with our target group and so on. All in all, a very exciting and fun project. Plus, we had a lot of fun in my group even though we could not see each other face to face since everything was done via Skype!

 

National OT Association: Ergoterapeutforeningen 

Lastly, I am pleased to share that the national OT association in Denmark, Ergoterapeutforeningen has reached out to me. They are doing an interview with me where, I amongst other things, talk about SPOTEurope. The association has a magazine that comes out every month and the next issue is about international collaboration and so they contacted me. It’s very exciting to promote my international interests and SPOTEurope! Hopefully it can encourage more students to travel internationally. AND make more people aware of SPOTEurope and what we do. Besides that, I am about to become the Danish student representative for the OT association, and I will definitely make sure that SPOTEurope is heard and promoted!

That is all for now! Hope everybody is doing great!

Feel free to get in touch if you have questions or want to know more information 😊

Marie

Behind the Scenes of Brunel’s 3rd Occupational Therapy Student Conference

Published by Maurane, on behalf of authors Abigail Darko, Jenny Hong, & Fatema Virani from Brunel University London, United Kingdom

Overview…

Brunel’s Occupational Therapy Student Conference is an annual student-led event with opportunities for students in training to work together. The conference includes keynote lectures, seminars, and workshops discussing relevant topics and emerging areas that expand beyond academia teachings. This year’s conference took place on 27th of April, 2018. It included speakers who are occupational therapists, other allied health professionals, carers, parents, and service users. Delegates consisted of practitioners and students from Brunel University, students from other UK universities, Spain, The Netherlands and Belgium!

How we got started…

After forming a committee of truly passionate and committed students, an initial meeting was set up. The meeting was facilitated by a staff lecturer and allowed the committee to commence the team-bonding process. Key decisions were made, which included selecting the theme for the conference. It was only natural that the theme covered “The transformative power of occupation”. We wanted to learn new and exciting ways to use ‘occupation’ to transform the lives of communities and individuals.

The student co-chairs then facilitated meetings and discussion of ideas proposed by committee members for the conference. An action plan was drawn up with tasks to complete before the next meeting, with deadlines set before the next meeting.

Planning…

  1. Prepare to be flexible, communicate, compromise, and be patient.
  2. Ensure minutes and action plans for all meetings are recorded and sent out to the committee as soon as possible to get the ball rolling in completing tasks.
  3. Select keynote speakers, seminar and workshop leaders through university, placement, and conference networks (committee members can provide a range of presenters based on the varying experiences!). Contact and confirm the speakers’ attendance early in advance.
  4. Publicise conference on all available platforms internal and external to the University.
  5. Agree on a reasonable and realistic budget and stick to it!
  6. Once tickets go on sale, have a system in place to track the budget goals weekly.
  7. Make sure to share important milestones with the team (i.e. first 100 tickets sold, etc).
  8. When it comes to food – ‘it’s better to have too much than not enough’.

Top 10 tips for a successful day…

‘So after many hours of planning and hard work…how to make it count!’   

  1. Start early! The weeks really do fly by—draft a timeline/schedule for important jobs or roles.
  2. Set up deadlines and meet them!
  3. Communication is vital – set up a discussion forum or utilise social media to stay connected with your organising team.
  4. Teamwork – Use the strengths and talents in your team!
  5. Logistics – Make sure rooms are booked well in advance to ensure the date of your conference.
  6. Food – search for potential providers and estimated costs once the proposed budget is confirmed.
  7. Volunteers – search for members willing to support the conference and appreciate them as they are valuable contributors to the conference day.
  8. Ensure programme booklets, certificates, timetable, and registration list are in order the day before conference.
  9. Duration of conference – make sure the event follows the programme’s timetable to ensure it ends accordingly.
  10. Greet attendees and speakers and provide a welcoming and inspirational environment for members to comfortably engage and participate in the day’s activities.

Final Words…

‘Team work is dream work!’

It is imperative that as occupational therapists in the making, we advocate for student-led events. Your passion is infectious and will inspire others! Finally always remember, to have a coherent and successful conference you must ensure that it is fueled with:

  1. Teamwork: By communicating and working smart, the can be more efficient and creative with the project.
  2. Community: A sense of community within the committee should be established and developed so everyone is included, supported, and feels a part of the team.
  3. Leaders in OT: As the next generation of leaders will be in attendance of the conference, ensure they are well inspired by current OT role models!


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