Indonesia bound

(Edmonton) Five University of Alberta students have packed their bags and taken their education overseas.

At the end of June, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine occupational therapy students Janelle Daku, Camille Dube, Claire McEwan, Jarett Stastny and Brookes Charlong began a six-week placement working with occupational therapists in Indonesia.

“The U of A has had a long-standing relationship with the Indonesian occupational therapy program,” said Shaniff Esmail, associate chair of the occupational therapy program. “We sent a group of four students to Indonesia last year and they loved it. This year we sent five.”

Esmail floated the idea of sending students to Indonesia after taking his sabbatical there in 2005. In 2010, he was able to make it a reality.

“We hope to continue to send students every year. The students learn a lot from working in that setting, and the people there learn a lot from our students.”

The students will be working in collaboration with students at Surakarta University—the only Indonesian university with an occupational-therapy program recognized by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists.

Charlong has always wanted to do an international placement and she’s glad the occupational therapy program gave her that opportunity.

“I really wanted to gain a perspective that would be unlike anything I might see in Canada or a more westernized country. Because the U of A helped build the occupational therapy school in Surakarta, I thought it would be a great way to contribute to the development of the school and help create international awareness of occupational therapy.”