Dominique Danielle Ong and Claudette Anne Aytona, who are both in the
fifth year level of the Occupational Therapy program under the UST College of Rehabilitation Sciences, participated in the student exchange program between the University of Santo Tomas and the Seton Hall University in New Jersey, USA from September 30 to October 30, 2017.
They were accompanied by Mr. Charles Bermejo, a faculty member of the Department of Occupational Therapy. During their first week of exposure, the students sat in various classes under the Masters’ Program in Occupational Therapy.
They participated in and interacted with students from various levels in lecture and laboratory classes. The students were immersed in the different OT courses through listening to lectures on basic and applied sciences as well as participation in group activities, which was the main medium used in laboratory courses.
Through the group activities, the OT interns were able to share thoughts and ideas with Seton Hall OT students regarding treatment approaches and activities presented through a hypothetical case
Fresh from their local fieldwork exposure, the students were able to contribute a local flair in the conception and implementation of evaluation and treatment activities.
Particularly interesting in these classes were their exposure to the use of the Blackboard platform in all classes wherein students can share and present group outputs prepared in class instantly to fellow students.
The SHU student experience included out of classroom experiences particularly activities that allowed the participants to access different university facilities such as the library, gym, cafeteria, church and
student center. Ong and Aytona also attended student gatherings including an international student activity in which they interacted with other international students in the university.
The international exposure was not limited to in-campus activities but they
were also sent to various affiliated fieldwork facilities of the department. The two interns were able to see and treat patients under supervision and assisted fellow students and OT staff in the different facilities.
Treating patients in a continuing geriatric
care facility was a bonus experience for the interns as this is not a common setting locally. They were also able to witness the delivery of services in such facility from acute, subacute, rehab and residential care.
They were also able to observe schoolbased occupational therapy which is a service provided to students in schools in the US. Ong and Aytona assisted in group and individual classroom activities.
Faculty member Charles Bermejo was able to meet with various faculty members of the department, benchmarking outcomes based education platforms and strategies in preparation for the full implementation
of such curriculum beginning 2018.
Through various meetings with key faculty members, Bermejo gained insights in the use of outcomes based strategies from the creation of the course outline and class structure. It was noted that class structure in all of their courses is an integration of medical foundations, evaluation and
treatment. Current local structure has these courses offered separately. He was also able to explore possible continuing professional development partnerships with expert faculty in Stroke Rehabilitation.