If you have an interest in occupational and physical therapy programs, or if you’ve already started a degree program, why not consider learning in another country and potentially broadening your understanding of your chosen field? A physical or occupational therapy study abroad program might be instrumental in giving you the skills you need to interact with patients from different cultures and countries and learn how best to treat those patients. Even if you have no intention of practicing outside of the U.S., there’s a chance your patients might come from international backgrounds and have special treatment needs. What’s more is that study abroad programs may provide you with more than a few unforgettable life experiences.

Physical Therapy Study Abroad Programs

Should you find yourself torn between wanting to travel and getting started on earning a physical or occupational therapy degree, you have the option to do both through a physical therapy study abroad program. The American Institute for Foreign Study offers a 60-hour introductory physical therapy course in Costa Rica. Students have the chance to learn the basics of physical therapy as well as some of the most prevalent injuries and illnesses that are treated with physical therapy. If you decide stay in Costa Rica to practice physical therapy, there’s also a course that focuses on the Costa Rican health care system and tropical medicine.[i]

International Occupational and Physical Therapy Programs

Costa Rica isn’t your only option for physical therapy study abroad programs. Nicolaus Copernicus University in Poland’s Torun features a three-year Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy program. Students are educated on physical therapy, kinesitherapy, manual therapy, special methods and therapeutic massage.[ii] In addition to learning in Poland, you might also have the opportunity to earn your degree alongside students from a variety of different countries, including Sweden, Italy, Saudi Arabia, India and Canada.[iii]  

You may also like the idea of earning a degree at Australia’s Griffith University, which has students enrolled from over 130 different countries. What’s more is that the Queensland university was ranked among the leading five percent of all universities in 2015. You might also like the fact that Griffith University has earned five stars for graduate employability.[iv]

You could one day find the skills and lessons you learn outside of your international classroom are transferable to other areas of your future occupational and physical therapy career. By learning alongside students from other nations while completing your study abroad occupational therapy program, you could pick up another language, which could also prove to be an advantage in your personal and professional future.

Types of Occupational and Physical Therapy Programs for Study Abroad

While you may find several occupational and physical therapy programs, it’s likely that not all of them meet your personal requirements. For instance, would you rather opt for a program sponsored by a foreign university, or do you think you’d be more comfortable with a United States-based program? Do you mind staying with a host family, or do you feel you’d have a better experience staying in university housing? There are also volunteer-based programs that could be a better fit for you, your personality and your career goals.

For instance, if you already have a background in physical or occupational therapy, you might like the idea of volunteering in a medical and public health program in South Africa. Program volunteers focus their efforts on researched-based public and clinical health programs.[v]

Applying to a study abroad program could prove to be a great way to save money on your occupational and/or physical therapy education while traveling around the world. Explore your options and decide which country and program sounds the most intriguing.

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