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 & audiology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and music therapy. Therapy Abroad creates an interactive educational environment for students and professionals 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, 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 the kind of hands-on experience specifically students that want to be therapists that Therapy Abroad does.

Founded
2015
Headquarters

1820 W Orangewood Ave. Suite 105
Orange, CA 92868
United States

Reviews

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julianna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

From the day I arrived in the town of Cabarete, I felt at home because everyone on the team gives you a warm welcome. The people of Cabarete are very welcoming; I never felt unsafe in the town. Having the opportunity to work with kids was an unforgettable experience, you learn and grow so much. The camp was 6 days and we worked with 9 children with speech problems. My partner and I were in charge of pretend play and everyday we planned new activities to have the children engaged. We were also assigned to observe a child throughout camp and later we met with our child's parents and teachers to exchange information and write an observation report. I also noticed how much they are in need of speech pathologists in Cabarete and the rehab center in Puerto Plata, which is why I would love to go back once I become an SLP and advocate for my Latino community. If you are planning on becoming a speech language pathologist I definitely recommend Therapy Abroad. You will have an unforgettable experience that will follow you through your career.

What was your funniest moment?
There were many but one of them was when we would sing the songs we sang with the kids at camp at random times. We would be in the bus or out having dinner and someone would start singing one of the songs. One of them was "vengan a ver la selva es hermooosa..."
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Whitney
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This is the only bilingual speech therapy program out there! It was such an amazing experience to get to meet others with the same passion as you. I learned so much about the development of children regarding speech and fine and gross motor skills all in Spanish. I think that prepping this camp was a great opportunity to see what planning and working with children with different disabilities would be like. It gave me hands-on experience working with these children. Also, observing the bilingual speech therapists on the trip during their screenings of children helped me gain a better understanding of the evaluation aspect of this field. This program expanded my knowledge on vocabulary in Spanish in this field and helped solidify my passion to become a bilingual speech-language pathologist.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
We climbed down a ladder on our hike to this cave pool and dove in!
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Stephanie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This experience was incredibly special and unique. I had the opportunity to set up a speech and language camp that was designed to help nine local children. We were all assigned a child that we would be responsible for observing the entire camp. After the camp, we had to write observation reports about our child. This gave me so much hands-on experience, and taught me things about this field that I would have never learned in a classroom. I was the only participant from Iowa, and because of this trip I am excited to present to everyone everything I learned. Having two licensed and very experienced SLPs on this trip with us was also amazing. We were able to observe informal clinical observations of a variety of different children from the DR. The best part of it ALL was that every single part of it was in Spanish! I grew as a student and as a person because of this program.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The most surprising thing we did was going to eat at this amazing Indian Retreat place. They had all of us sit inside a tent on pillows. All of our plates were just big leaves, and when our food came out we could only eat with our hands. It was bizarre and a great experience.
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Kaylin
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This program met all my expectations and further, going above and beyond to make us 12 students feel comfortable, safe, and have fun! We ran a 6-day Tykes camp for children with communication disorders and delays, observed some screenings, and went on many fun excursions, like jumping in cave pools and going to the beach. Almost every night we had dinner on the beach, and we even learned bachata and went out dancing for Latino night! The hotel was right by the school and many dinner locations, and had a pool to dive into after a sweaty morning's work! There was always enough down time in the afternoon to rest up for the evening and the next day. This experience is wonderful for anyone looking to garner experience in bilingual speech-language pathology and have lots of fun along the way!

What would you improve about this program?
I think there were some excursions, like meeting the only SLP in the Dominican, that could be more organized, and additional water activities could be added. It would also be cool to have more hospital observations of therapy, because our observations were primarily screenings done by the SLPs in the program. That was an awesome experience, but seeing actual therapy would be an improvement! The camp was a great idea, though more selectivity in what kinds of campers can come would be advised. However, the leaders are awesome, and I know they're already looking into improving upon many of these things!
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Leila
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This program exceeded every expectation I had for it. I got to experience things that most studying SLPs will not get the chance to experience until Grad school. We were given the opportunity to perform speech and hearing screenings in schools, run a special education camp for students, and observe treatment sessions in the homes of children in the area. It pushed me out of my comfort zone in every way possible, but in doing so it made me into a stronger, better person. I came out of this program with a new sense of confidence in myself and my abilities as a clinician. I was able to learn things about behavior regulation, working with special education students, lesson planning, thinking on my feet, cultural competence in regards to the SLP profession, and most importantly I learned how to use my failures to my advantage and grow and change from them. Being surrounded by 12 likeminded people I was able to create lifelong friendships and connections with undergraduate students from across the US and Canada whom I never would have had the chance to meet otherwise. I was also able to create connections with 3 practicing SLPs from across the US and Australia who I know I will be able to turn to for help and advice in the future, as well as for letters of recommendation in applying to grad school. In addition to all the hard work we put into to bettering the lives of children in Belize, we got to experience the best of what Belize has to offer including incredible local food, cave tubing, zip lining, the Altun Ha archeological site, and snorkeling on Caye Caulker Island. I am beyond grateful to therapy abroad for this experience and everything they have done for me.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I would say to go into this program expecting to fail. This program will teach you to learn from your mistakes and accept guidance and support from your supervisors. If you let it, this program will mold you into a better clinician, student, and person, but you have to come into it with an open mind and just be a sponge for all the valuable life lessons it will teach you.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

Alumni Interviews

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

Ashley Collins

Ashley Collins has received an undergraduate degree in Music Therapy. She has been working as a music therapist for the past three years. She is now perusing her Master's in Speech-Language Pathology.
Ashley Collins

Why did you choose this program?

I chose therapy abroad because it provides students with the opportunity for a lot of hands-on learning. It can be hard going through and only taking classes. This trip was a wonderful way to apply what I have learned so far and give a reminder of why we write all those papers and take all those tests!

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

NYU provided the information that the program was available. They did not provide any further support or information. I was in charge of applying and making sure that the trip time fit with my school break. My supervisor on the trip was in charge of making sure my supervision hours sheet was filled out.

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

Be ready to apply what you have learned but also be open to learning from others (supervisors and students). I really enjoyed going with students from many different schools to learn about their school's of thought/experiences/knowledge. Be ready to try things on the fly in a very safe environment with a lot of support and direction.

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

You are fed WONDERFUL food, you go to a school or center and spend the day either doing assessments or treatments. At night, you have ample time to enjoy Belize, write your reports and get to know the other students. Be ready to adjust to a slightly different life style and try to put your phone down as much as possible.

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

I was not sure that this program would be applicable to where I am currently in school. All of the staff was willing to work with me to make my experience the most beneficial for my skills and knowledge while also allowing my opportunity to try new things and learn on the spot! Everyone was very kind and supportive, which made it very easy to learn.

Will I be living somewhere with tons of bugs and dirty bathrooms?

Nope! If you follow the recommendations of treating your clothes ahead of time and utilize baby oil/coconut oil and bug spray, you will not have issues. As for the housing, it was AMAZING. Clean, warm showers and toilets that flush.

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Staff Interviews

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

Ellen McKamey

Job Title
Country Coordinator
Ellen McKamey

Ellen serves as program coordinator for Therapy Abroad’s Belize program. She has over 14 years of experience working in domestic and international special education, including applied behavior analysis, public awareness and child advocacy. Belize holds a special place in her heart as it was the site for her 27 month service in the United States Peace Corps.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite travel memories are definitely on Caye Caulker with my fellow Peace Corps Volunteers while we were serving in Belize. Lots of laughs and great memories were shared on that sweet little island. Late nights, long talks, and dives in the deep blue sea were some of my favorites. It was the perfect recharging station where we could meet up and spend a couple days relaxing with friends.

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

Working for Therapy Abroad has allowed me to continue the work I was doing while in Belize as a Peace Corps volunteer, but on a much larger scale. I really enjoy working with the teams we bring down and the fact that we're now in country about 6 months throughout the year aids in our ability to ensure our program's sustainability.

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

I love hearing students' individual stories of how Therapy Abroad has broadened their scope. For a lot of our students, our programs are extremely eye opening experiences and sometimes their first opportunity to travel outside of the United States. It's most impressive to me their courage and determination to take on a hands-on learning opportunity in an unfamiliar environment.

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

Our company just started a program in the Dominican Republic and I would love to check it out. It would be my first time visiting the DR and I would be interested to see the similarities and differences between there and Belize in terms of services offered for children with special needs and everyday life.

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

I think the importance that both the founders of Therapy Abroad and myself put on the sustainability of our programs makes our company unique. As returned Peace Corps volunteers, sustainability is one of our highest values. We seek to work in countries and with partnerships that WANT to work with us. We put a high priority on professional trainings to ensure carryover.

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

I believe the biggest factor in the success of Therapy Abroad in Belize are the relationships and connections we're building with not only professionals in the field there, but also with the families and communities we're working with. It's these relationships that create the foundation for change that we hope to see within country's services for their special needs population.

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