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Shelby worked on an Occupational Therapy Internship in Sydney, Australia in 2023. She wanted to share some of her wonderful experiences with others and set expectations for what interning and living in Australia was like for her!


Can you share some highlights from your internship experience and your travels?

During my abroad experience, I lived with a host family and worked at my internship placement 5 days a week. My host family was arguably the best family ever. They made sure I was comfortable and cared for in the best ways possible. I follow a gluten-free diet and my host family made sure to accommodate their meals so that I could enjoy the food with them. On the weekends, I would typically go into the city to walk around and visit new places. One of my most memorable moments while abroad was climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The view from the top of the bridge was like no other. It had rained the whole week prior but the day of my climb was the most perfect day. It was an experience that will be hard to forget!

What did a day in the life as an Occupational Therapy Intern look like?

Each day at my internship placement looked a little different. During a typical day, I would arrive at the office by 9am and start the morning by organizing and cleaning the office to make sure it was ready for the clients to come in. Throughout the day, I would work closely with the clients and their support workers to learn how to provide 1:1 support, help the developmental team and provide assistance to the various programs that are carried out day to day, and help my supervisor to complete administrative tasks in the office. I was largely involved in the play group program, which was developed for young children around ages 3-5 to interact and play with each other in a group setting rather than a 1:1 setting with their support worker. I was mostly responsible for developing and creating activities for them to do together that would target different goals and sensory needs. I enjoyed working with the clients and being able to see the direct impact I had on their ability to take steps towards meeting their personal goals.

What are a few lessons you learned?

During my time in Australia, I was able to learn a lot about myself and Australian culture. I have found that there is a new sense of confidence I carry with myself and I have a greater appreciation for the little things in life. I have learned the importance of taking chances and forming human connections, even with those you may not have initially considered making a connection with. I enjoyed learning about Australian culture and how it has shaped Australia into the country it is today. I found it interesting to see the different things they valued and how their ways of life were different, but also similar to what I was used to at home.

What was the best part of living and working abroad in Sydney?

The best part about living abroad was the ability to explore and admire everything the country had to offer. I lived very close to one of the main interchanges for public transportation so it was very easy to hop on a bus or catch a train to wherever I wanted to explore for the day. Sydney’s public transportation was very reliable and easy to use which helped to make my explorations that much better. Since I was there during the spring and early summer seasons, I really enjoyed going to the different markets on the weekends in and around the city to try new foods and meet and connect with new people who shared similar interests. I was also fortunate enough to take a week long trip to the Red Centre to experience the amazing wonders of the Australian Outback. This trip was filled with culture, history, and adventure. It was honestly one of the best things I’ve done in my life and was a true eye opening experience.

Why World Endeavors?

When looking for an internship abroad experience, World Endeavors had everything to offer. On their website they were highlighting occupational therapy internships around the world and from the start of the process, World Endeavors made this experience the best it could have possibly been. My program coordinator was a pleasure to work with and she always made sure I had all of the resources I needed. She checked in on me regularly while I was abroad and was always quick to answer any questions I had, despite the large time difference between us.

What’s next after your internship in Australia?

While abroad, I applied to and interviewed for OT graduate programs. This coming fall, I will be attending Sacred Heart University to obtain my master’s degree in OT. Since returning home, I have reconnected with friends and family, and started a new job. I am also highly anticipating my next trip to Australia. I fell in love with the country while I was there and can’t wait to start planning my return visit soon!

If you would like to know more about our Occupational Therapy Internships or would like to receive information about our full offering of internships abroad, please connect with one of our advisors through the contact form!