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Two occupational therapy students from South Korea spent the past month at University of the Sciences exploring and identifying the cultural differences between healthcare in their homeland and the United States.
Jinsol Park and Hyeji Yun, both third-year occupational therapy students at Far East University (FEU) in South Korea, had the opportunity to temporarily live in a residence hall at USciences and collaborate with occupational therapy students and faculty from USciences and Temple University.
Their coursework incorporated various learning activities, including lecture series, discussions, review of case studies, and touring cultural sites around Philadelphia. During their final week on campus, Park and Yun worked closely with USciences and Temple students to host Camp Discovery for 25 local women in different stages of their cancer journeys. The students conducted a variety of activities for the women, including dance classes, craft making, poetry workshops, and healthy cooking. The goal was to encourage participants to continue engaging in these activities once they completed the camp.
Park and Yun agreed that although the occupational therapy profession is similar in South Korea and America, occupational therapists in the United States follow a more collaborative, team-based approach to treating patients.
“This was my first time in the United States and it was interesting to see how occupational therapists teamed up with other therapists and healthcare practitioners to enhance a patient’s overall healthcare experience,” said Park.
In 2012, USciences established a partnership with FEU to allow its students to travel to Philadelphia to explore healthcare and occupational therapy, observe treatment options, and compare the country’s healthcare system to that of South Korea. Students from USciences have also traveled to FEU to study occupational therapy in South Korea.
Although students did not participate in the exchange program this summer, Dr. Colleen Maher, assistant professor of occupational therapy, said, USciences plans to continue the program in the future. This partnership aims to give students a worldview of a profession in occupational therapy.
Local women with cancer worked with occupational therapy students and faculty from USciences, Temple University and FEU.