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Volunteer AbroadVolunteer Overseas

Volunteer Occupational Therapy Internships Abroad

Gap Year Occupational Therapy placements overseas

Our Occupational Therapy internships will give you valuable insight into the different treatment techniques used in developing countries. These placements are ideal for Occupational Therapy students, as well as trained professionals or simply those with an interest in the field. Assist local staff while helping to improve the quality of life for those with disabilities.

Next Step: Click here to choose a destination for your Occupational Therapy project

Volunteering on an Occupational Therapy placement

As an Occupational Therapy volunteer, you may find yourself working in a wide range of different settings, including hospitals, schools, community or day care centres, as well as specialist therapy or rehabilitation centres. In some destinations, there is also the opportunity to take part in home visits.

In many of the countries where we work, there is a lack of trained Occupational Therapists and support for disabled people. Furthermore, Occupational Therapy is not always a recognised profession. Combined with a lack of equipment for treatment or money to pay for these services, this means that adults and children with disabilities do not always receive the treatment that would otherwise improve their conditions.

What will I do on an Occupational Therapy internship?

Your role will differ according to the specific placement and destination that you choose. Those with additional experience or training will take on more responsibilities. Each placement is tailored, where possible, to both a volunteer’s level of experience and their interests.

The patients you encounter will all have differing conditions and needs. You will work with children and adults with a range of physical and mental disabilities. Interns support the local staff, and may assist with tasks such as helping to assess patients, assisting with therapy sessions, providing guidance on how to improve particular skills, and demonstrating techniques to patients, teachers and caregivers.

Please bear in mind that any opportunity to gain experience in practical, hands-on work will always be at the discretion of local practitioners. Initially, your role will be mainly observational. However, as you develop a working relationship with the local healthcare staff, you may find yourself taking on more duties.

If you are an Occupational Therapy student in your Elective year, please see our Occupational Therapy Elective page.

"During each one to one therapy session with a child I encouraged them to learn to paint and carry out arts and crafts. Step by step each child helped to create a colourful ‘Occupational Therapy’ sign using different techniques including sticking, cutting, painting and drawing. It was a real team effort and a beautiful creation that will stay in the department for years to come."

Beth Pratt
Occupational Therapy in Thailand

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