One of our favorite parts about our job is the amazing people we get to talk to, work with, and send abroad, and we especially love hearing from our current participants and alumni about how their time abroad has changed them! It’s great to hear the stories, memorable moments, and things they’ve learned at their placements and in their host culture–and we know we’re not the only ones interested to hear it!
Bridget is a Summer 2018 alumni; she did her Occupational Therapy internship in Prague, Czech Republic. I recently had the chance to hear from her for a short alumni profile, but there was much more to her story than fit on that one-page profile! We are proud to now share more of her experience–and photos!–in this latest blog post.
Introductions: Tell us about yourself and your experience!
My name is Bridget and I’m from Denver, Colorado. Through WE, I went to Prague, Czech Republic last summer to complete an internship in Occupational Therapy. There, I was able to work with children with disabilities at an outpatient daycare center and I was also given the opportunity to work with Parkinson’s patients at an elderly care center for 2 weeks.
What did you take away from your internship experience? What did you learn?
This internship truly pushed me out of my comfort zone to the point where I was able to accomplish things that I never had imagined that I could. I became much more independent and confident when learning how to navigate a new environment/city while simultaneously being immersed in a brand new culture. Working with children at the daycare was one of the most fulfilling things that I’ve ever done. I learned so much about the field of occupational therapy and was able to advance my skills working with children on sensory processing skills, attention/focus, feeding, hydrotherapy, and hippotherapy. I learned early on that I wanted to pursue this career during this internship and specialize in pediatrics working with children possessing various mental and physical disabilities in order to provide them with the skills necessary to perform daily occupations including learning, self-care, and playing. I believe that this internship allowed for quality cultural integration that provided a unique experience and allowed me to improve my interpersonal and communication skills. I always tell people that I never had a bad day while I was there. Although communication was difficult at times, it was a great learning experience and I enjoyed learning about the country’s language and culture. Every day was an adventure. I would go to my internship in the morning until around 1 pm and then I would have the rest of the day to go explore the city and see a new monument and try new food every day.
Any amazing or impactful effects of living abroad that you want to share from your experience?
The most incredible part about this internship was the ability to explore the city of Prague and the surrounding countries in Europe. I was able to travel all over Europe after my internship and even take weekend trips during my internship to Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, Dresden, Germany, and Paris, France when we got extra time off for the holidays. I learned so much about the importance of embracing other cultures in order to gain a greater perspective and nurture personal growth. The adventures that I gained were unlike any other. I met people from all over the world and got to spend time exploring what the city had to offer each day that I was there. It’s so stimulating and challenging, which was the reason I felt like I grew so much from the experience. I learned the value of exploring other countries and cultures and meeting people that are different than us because we can learn so much from them. Getting out of your comfort zone is so rewarding and challenging at the same time, but you will never regret it.
Why did you choose to do your internship with World Endeavors rather than someone else? Why should someone who is looking to go abroad work with World Endeavors?
WE had such a helpful staff that was always communicating with me on the next steps and giving me tons of information. Their staff overseas was also incredibly welcoming and helpful. If I ever felt sick and couldn’t make it to my internship, they were extremely responsive in letting my supervisor know and consistently checked on me to make sure I was enjoying my internship experience. Everything was organized and thoughtfully planned out through this organization and I could not have asked for a more accommodating internship experience. The communication was superior to any program I have ever been involved in and that made the experience amazing and relaxed. Reviews from other alumni and reviews about the program in general led me to choose this program as well. The alumni reviews were really inspiring and I looked up to their courage and bravery to be able to travel abroad by themselves and immerse themselves in a different culture.
I would recommend Prague, Czech Republic for a very unique experience! The language is hard, but the culture is so interesting and the city is beautiful. My favorite experience was doing the paddle boats in the river with some intern friends watching the sun set over the beautiful castles and churches. I also got to watch the World Cup soccer games at local restaurants in Prague since it was such a popular event in Europe at the time and was able to witness the excitement in Paris when France won to move on to the finals.
Where are you now and what’s next for you?
After my internship, I applied to graduate school for Occupational Therapy. I got accepted to both NYU and Columbia University and will be going to graduate school in NYC this fall! I feel like this internship definitely prepared me for this next step in my life and I strongly believe that having this international internship on my resume helped me get into graduate school. I highly recommend this experience for anyone who wants to apply to graduate school for OT since it is such a competitive process, however this type of experience is so unique and gives applicants a competitive advantage. I also found a love for travel after this internship and am taking trips to Spain, Portugal, and Ecuador this summer!
We wish Bridget all the best in her upcoming travels and graduate school and thank her for getting out there and sharing her story!
Are you interested in OT, the Czech Republic, or an international internship? Find out more on our website or contact World Endeavors today!
Posted by World Endeavors on April 16, 2019
World Endeavors believes that international travel has the power to change lives, broaden horizons, and deepen intercultural understanding. The world is undergoing rapid changes, with societies becoming more interconnected and environmentally aware; at the same time a more challenging global economy inspires in many a need to reach out and make a positive difference while seeking personal growth opportunities. There has never been a better time than now to travel abroad.