Here is an interview with an occupational therapist who completed her fieldwork experience in Puerto Rico.
What led you to pursue a fieldwork assignment abroad? I always knew I wanted to do an internship abroad. My biggest motivation was the desire to experience something different and memorable. Perhaps it was my curiosity, or my adventurous soul that lead me to this path. All I know, is that it was an incredible experience that I will forever remember.
In what type of setting did you complete your fieldwork? I was assigned to work in a public mental health institution named Dr. Ramon Fernandez Marina. This facility is one of the most famous public hospitals that treats patients with mental health disorders in the acute and sub-acute stage. It was within the walls of this hospital that for the first time I understood mental health disorders beyond the DSM 5.
Where did you live? Was the trip an expensive venture? I lived with two other friends from school who also completed their fieldworks in Puerto Rico. We lived in a hotel in Centro Medico, which is actually a hospital with a mini hotel within its own facility. It was great because we all shared the cost, and we were able to budget accordingly. My advice would be to look for an airbnb in the area, and find a roommate if possible. Your travel cost will vary according to the country you are visiting, your length of stay, as well as your travel expectations and activities. Also, have a budget in mind and stick to it. Despite the fact that an internship abroad could be very expensive, it should not be an excuse not to fulfill your dream.
Describe what your day to day looked like at the hospital. An occupational therapist in this setting is responsible for waking up the patients early in the morning for hygiene and grooming sessions, conducting a group therapy activity, assess a patient’s abilities and independence in ADL tasks, and most importantly instilling hope.
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