Mobility Week in Amsterdam

This mobility week took place in Amsterdam from the 6th till the 8th of November 2019.


Hello! My name is Marieke, I’m 22 years old and I live in Arnhem/ Netherlands. I’m currently studying occupational therapy but have a few more months left before I officially become an OT! I’m really excited and cannot wait for this big moment to arrive!!! Until then and during these few months there are some interesting things that need to be done. Two of these things are an internship in hand therapy and going to school every Friday at the HAN in Nijmegen.

During this internship I decided to get a few days off and visit the mobility week in Amsterdam. Now that I have finished my stay there I can assure you that this was the greatest choice I could have ever made. Without further ado let’s get you all excited about this mobility week!!

Impressions and micro + meso + macro levels

Besides getting to meet a lot of occupational therapy students from all over Europe and making a lot of new friends, which is honestly such a great experience, I had the chance to share similarities and compare differences on a micro-, meso- and macro-level. For example, on a micro-level everyone has a different way of studying and learning and, of course, different interests. On a meso-level now, there is the way each school decides to teach its students and which approach they like to use. For instance, the University of Amsterdam has a very unique and helpful way of learning and practicing. There is a practice apartment there, where students can perform simulation contact with clients, a very helpful and experiential way of learning and a safe way to experiment on approaches! Last but not least, there is the macro level, which includes the government, laws and regulations. This raises questions like “How does the system work in other countries”.  An interesting question, don’t you think?

A beneficial assignment leading to a professional – life lesson

Students, Teachers and Guest Speakers

The most interesting part of this mobility week, though, was the task we were assigned with, which had to do with the levels mentioned above. To be precise, we grouped up so as to find a marginalized group, display what their situation is now and what their dream situation would be like. Quite an interesting way to make you think outside of the box as an occupational therapist and a professional in general! Our group chose a community within Gent, which is in Belgium and our dream situation was for them to be included in the community in Gent. We got really excited, inspired and realized a lot of things along the way. For example, at first we thought that there was no realistic way of getting there. But due to our use of our occupational therapy values, frames of reference and knowledge, we actually got to the point where this dream situation could become reality. At the end of the week we gave a presentation in which we explained how we as occupational therapists can advocate, coach and inform to achieve inclusion in society. 

Honoring speeches

Another great aspect of Amsterdam’s mobility week was the opportunity to benefit from workshops and guest speakers! The guest speakers came to Amsterdam from all over the world, such as Canada and Tukey. They gave us an insight in working in different countries and the challenges you get to face in these settings. Some of them are lack of supplies, acceptance of working as a woman and the unfamiliarity of your profession.  In that moment we were called to think out of the box again in order to holistically and morally approach these matters.  We also had the chance to hear two very special guest speakers, Soemitro Poerbodipoero, current president of ENOTHE and Cassandra Christianen, current president of SPOTeurope. Both of these inspiring people stand for internationalization in occupational therapy and I strongly believe that we could benefit from (literally) pushing our boundaries, as they have already highlighted.


A massive thank you to the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS / HvA) for organizing this mobility week and bringing all these students and teachers together in such a creative way.

The next mobility week will be in January in Winterthur and the last one in May in Sweden.

Contact Information

Marieke Oonk

I think you get the most out of life and yourself if you keep growing. Personally I like to travel. A big part of why I like it is because I get to meet new people. The earth we live on is so big, yet so small. There are billions of people with stories to share from different points of view and I think we can all learn a big deal from one another. This concludes in growth, which is created by pushing your boundaries. Figurative boundaries can be pushed by pushing litteral boundaries. This may get you out of the comfort zone, because it is scary or even exciting. But this is the point when you start to grow.  Thus, the mobility week can be a great step to get out of your comfort zone! Let’s connect to create a safe and sound learning environment. I’m open for any questions you may have or if you want to share something with me.

So if you would like to know more about the Mobility Week or have a question for me or maybe just want to share your experience and push your boundaries, you can send me and e-mail at: ma**********@ho*****.com or a text at: +31611934971

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