Therapy Abroad

Therapy Abroad

About

Therapy Abroad offers short-term study abroad programs for undergraduate and graduate students in the field of communication sciences & disorders, speech-language pathology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, sports & exercise sciences, and other human and health sciences. Therapy Abroad creates an interactive educational environment for students to learn and enhance core competencies in their field, as well as to enjoy the richness and challenges of service-learning and traveling abroad. Working with partner organizations overseas including rehabilitation hospitals and clinics, schools, and home health providers, students are given the opportunity to work directly with clients, receive specialized training, and learn from experts in their field while also contributing to a unique cultural exchange experience. No other student travel program offers award-winning specialized hands-on experiences for students in these fields combined with group adventure travel!

Founded
2015

Reviews

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Kerstin
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Belize 2023

This was definitely one of the most amazing and memorable experiences I've ever had. The Therapy Abroad staff were extremely knowledgeable and offered a great deal of support throughout the entire trip. We were able to complete many clinical experiences, including screenings, evaluations, and therapy sessions and work with a wide range of clients. We also were able to have many adventurous and cultural experiences, like visiting the Mayan cultural center and Mayan ruins and going ziplining and snorkeling. I learned so much about the culture in Belize and had an amazing time interacting with the different communities. This was truly a once in a lifetime experience and I will be forever grateful that I was able to be a part of it. I learned so many new things and gained a great deal of confidence as a clinician. The housing was very clean and safe, and all of the staff members we interacted with were extremely accommodating and welcoming. I'm going to remember this trip for the rest of my life and take all of the skills I learned with me as I continue my clinical experiences. I thoroughly enjoyed every single day of the trip, and I would tell anyone who has the opportunity to go that it is so worth it. I already want to go back!

Pros
  • We were able to participate in a wide range of clinical experiences.
  • We learned so much about the culture and participated in many cultural immersion experiences.
  • The staff and all of the people we met in Belize were extremely kind and wonderful to interact with.
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Bridget
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Already miss it

I can not express how amazing this experience was. From traveling all over the country to getting to know locals, to the delicious meals and so much more, I miss it already. The people we met and the opportunities we were given, have provided me with an education that you can't study for. Being exposed to another culture has been a great way to continue being culturally humble. The Therapy Abroad employees were there for us for everything. They taught us so much about Belize and the amazing culture they have there.

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Molly
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Therapy Abroad - Belize

Overall, this experience was outstanding. We felt so much support from Therapy Abroad both before our trip and while we were in Belize. The housing was clean, safe, and comfortable. Our itinerary kept us busy and fully emerged us into the culture of Belize which was all of our favorite parts. The activities that were planned for us were very enjoyable and exciting. We had the best trip and learned so much about the Belizean culture and were exposed to so many new things. I would highly recommend taking this trip with Therapy Abroad. It was life changing for all of us!!

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Olivia
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Best trip ever

I learned so many clinical and life skills from this trip with Therapy Abroad. We got to experience cultural activities as well as fun adventures that can be checked off my bucket list like snorkeling and ziplining in the rainforest. The people of Belize were all so welcoming and kind to us. It was a perfect mix of excursions and clinical experiences, our schedules were packed and full of variety. Therapy Abroad made everything so easy by organizing every meal and transportation. I would definitely do this trip again!

Pros
  • Food
  • Cultural immersion
  • Clinical Experience
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Alyssa
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Therapy Abroad - AMAZING

I loved my experience! Once in a lifetime, I would do it all again in a heartbeat. We got to meet great people, eat great food, learned so much about speech therapy, and did so many fun things. We ziplined, toured mayan ruins, got to stay on the beach, and had amazing experiences along the way. If you are thinking of going, don’t hesitate! Truly a once in a lifetime experience that I will treasure together. We all miss Belize so much already! The food was also so good (lots of rice and beans and chicken, but also so yummy)

Pros
  • Learned so much
  • Saw amazing Belizean sites

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

The moment I received an email from my post-bac program advisor, I opened it and I was excited to read about a bilingual SLP program in the Dominican Republic! I did my research on Therapy Abroad and applied right away and waited anxiously to hear back. As soon as I was accepted, I started fundraising. I even told a friend about the program and she went too!

I loved everything they focused on from hands-on experience with children with speech disorders, to have the opportunity to work alongside certified SLPs. It was the perfect combination of being able to work in a Spanish speaking country and to work with children with speech disorders.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

My university did not assist me with any help, I had to do everything on my own but Therapy Abroad was very helpful. Therapy Abroad’s staff was an amazing source of help and always answered my questions via email or phone. The program itself is very well organized and sends you email updates when forms are due.

The only thing I had to organize on my own was my connecting flight from LAX to Miami because the person in charge of booking this flight was not responding. Other than that, Therapy Abroad was a huge help!

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

My advice would be to really take advantage and network out there. You meet so many people from SLP professors, members from your team, team leaders, psychologists, teachers, and DREAM staff members. Everyone out there is so friendly and willing to help. Exchange emails, numbers and build connections. Remember these people are also on the same page to become SLPs or some of them already went through the process. I recently sent my statement of purpose to one of the professors, that was on the team and he is helping me build my statement of purpose.

Another advice would be to take a journal and write what you did each day. Your journal might help you when writing your statement of purpose or it can just be something to look back and see all the amazing things you did out there.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

The first few days before camp starts, we were preparing our activities as well as getting to know one another and exploring the town of Cabarete. Once camp started, we would meet after breakfast to do a quick overview, questions, or an ice breaker. We would then head over to the school and had about 30 minutes to set up before the children arrived.

Once the children arrived, we would play with them for about 10 minutes and then gathered outside to sing our welcoming name song. After we would all head over to the first activity, which was literature. Then we had basic concepts, behavior regulation, gross motor, snack time and lastly pretend play. These activities were selected by us and we were paired with another team member interested in the same activity. When the last activity was done, we all gathered outside again and sang a song or two and a good-bye song with their names.

After the children left, we gathered and had lunch at the school and debriefed. We would share our glows and grows of the day. When we were done eating we would then have a break for about 1-3 hours depending on the agenda. Some days we had observations that would only give us about an hour break. We would then come back to the school and observe a speech therapy session done by one of the speech pathologists on the team. The therapy sessions were very interesting and helpful to observe.

After we would have a break until it was time for dinner. We would all go to dinner together in a nice and relaxing place by the beach.

After dinner, we would meet at the hotel to go over our activities for the next day and to make sure everyone was on the same page. Most of the time we were free before 9 pm and had the rest of the night to relax, go for a night swim or prepare for the next day.

It might seem like a long day but you will enjoy every single moment of it!

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

The day before my trip to the Dominican Republic, I was very excited but at the same time nervous (like many of us have felt). Many “what ifs” came to my mind. The main one was “what if I get sick?”. I went during the time when it was all over the news that Americans had been dying in the Dominican Republic, so of course, I freaked out. Most of those deaths had happened due to alcohol in certain resorts. As a member of the therapy abroad team, we were not allowed to drink alcohol which was good because then I did not have to worry about getting sick and it was one less thing on my mind to worry about.

It is okay to have these “what ifs” cross your mind; I mean, we are traveling to another country by ourselves. Another thing that helped me was taking a deep breath and just concentrating in the moment instead of worrying about the future. Once you arrive, you really forget about all the “what ifs” prior to arrival. Cabarete is a really beautiful and relaxing place to be.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Bob Serianni, MS, CCC-SLP

Job Title
SLP Supervisor
Bob is the Chair/Program Director and Assistant Professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology at Salus University. In addition to his administrative duties, Bob teaches several classes and supervises students in the program on-campus clinic, the Speech-Language Institute.
Two Therapy Abroad volunteers wearing blue company shirts helping two locals

What is your favorite travel memory?

During our last program, we provided services during a walk-in clinic for children and adults experiencing communication difficulties, in an open air room at a local hotel. The community coordinator had sent messages throughout the local villages that we'd be available to provide speech and hearing screenings. When the day ended, we had assessed over 30 people. Many of the clients were children and we were able to provide parent training for home programs.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I feel like I've grown in my understanding in how culture impacts education and health care. Applying cultural humility to mentoring graduate students has deeply impacted my perspective in addressing client care here in the United States. By giving students an opportunity to think creatively and quickly to address a variety of communication disorders, I have had to become a better teacher.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

There are so many - I ask students to be open and take chances during their experience, setting goals to do something outside their personal box! During our wrap-up meeting, I love to hear how they feel like they've grown. I always get one or two students who says that their friends, family and professors would not believe they did this or that - I see that as a student who has taken full advantage of the travel experience!

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

There are so many great opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students studying communication sciences and disorders (and other health science professions) that allow them to deeply experience a culture different from their own! I have enjoying several trips to Belize that allow monolingual students and clinicians the opportunity to work in a culture that both reflects common and differing values. It never fails to re-energize me!

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

I love the transformation that students go through, in such a short time frame. Therapy Abroad's mix of cultural immersion activities and clinical experiences allows even the most novice students an opportunity to learn about themselves as they study their profession. I try to take a picture of the students during their first activity and then again during their last day, so we can document the transformation from shy and nervous travelers to confident student clinicians, collaborating with the supervisors and impacting the communities Therapy Abroad serves.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I think it is a mix of fun and work. Students get pre-service information that prepares them for travel, activities to orient them to the culture before they start their experiences, and a variety of settings and populations which gives them a broad overview of service provision in-country. Therapy Abroad picks excellent clinical supervisors and community collaborators to facilitate the events. Couple that with exciting cultural activities and delicious meals of local cuisine affords students a well-rounded adventure.