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:
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.
Thanks for having us HAN!