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 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!
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