Developing an International Cultural Learning Project: An Effort Towards Introducing Internationalization in the Classroom
Document Type (Journals)
In an increasingly diverse and global society, allied health professionals must be ready to meet the needs of clients with different cultural values, habits, and attitudes. Understanding how culture impacts decision making in healthcare is a fundamental skill. However, education and experiences to help prepare future practitioners to meet this need are often lacking in allied health. This paper highlights a call to develop methods to identify and overcome barriers in providing students with culturally diverse and immersive experiences both feasibly and efficiently. A pilot cross-cultural experience was created utilizing the technique of Internationalization at Home (IaH) and integrating technology to improve the fidelity of the interactions. The focus of this project was to evaluate the feasibility of bringing students from two countries (one United States and one European program) together in a structured learning session related to culture and occupational therapy. The outcome of this pilot project was overwhelmingly positive. While there were some limitations in connectivity and organization, the students reported they benefitted from both exposures to a different culture, as well as from the discussions related to their future roles within the profession of occupational therapy.
Dr. Mary Zadnik is the program director of occupational therapy at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in Austin, Texas. Her clinical experience is in traumatic injury and her research focus is in program development related to education, service learning, and injury prevention.
Dr. Pavlina Psychouli is an Occupational Therapist and Coordinator of the BSc Occupational Therapy Program at European University of Cyprus (EUC). She developed the first BSc OT curriculum of EUC, which was approved by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists. Her research interests are on the field of neuroplasticity, recovery from neuronal damage and education.
Dr. Kayla Collins is an assistant professor and doctoral coordinator for the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS). She holds a Doctor of Education and Master of Occupational Therapy degree. She has primarily worked with the geriatric population and conducted research in online learning, simulation, experiential learning, and well elderly programs.
Declaration of Interest
The authors report no declarations of interest.
Zadnik, M., Psychouli, P., & Collins, K. (2019). Developing an International Cultural Learning Project: An Effort Towards Introducing Internationalization in the Classroom. Journal of Occupational Therapy Education, 3 (4). https://doi.org/10.26681/jote.2019.030409
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