PROGRAM TYPES

CONNECT WITH US

Occupational Therapy Internships in Sri Lanka - Anuradhapura
Work the World Header Image Work the World Header Image

Occupational Therapy Internships in Sri Lanka - Anuradhapura

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Work Environment

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Internship Placement

    10

I had an amazing six weeks

I had been working as an OT in Ireland for a year, and was looking to get some experience overseas when I heard of Work the World. They made planning, preparing and completing an internship totally realistic for me.

I had an amazing six weeks working in the OT Department at the local hospital. I spent time in both the Physical Outpatient Department and the Psychiatric Inpatient Department. The hospital allowed for numerous learning opportunities; I observed patients of all ages with a variety of mental and physical conditions. I saw paediatric cases like global development delay, cerebral palsy, down's syndrome and autism. Hand therapy, splinting, scar management and burns management were a big part of the caseload too.

As the hospital only had two OTs, the workload was high. The local OT had to advise, creatively, on homemade equipment, including hand function devices, specialised seating for paediatric cases, and home programs. Group work with the patients in the psychiatric ward included gardening, music group, discussion groups and volleyball, where staff also joined in the game. Patients were so thankful for the services they received, and loved hearing us speak some of the local language.

I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit some of the other hospitals in Anuradhapura, too. I saw rehabilitation centres in the capital, day centres, and different mental health hospitals. All the OTs were keen to show me around and share knowledge. I also got to complete a home visit, and see the Occupational Therapy university where I sat in on a lecture and told them what working as an OT in Ireland was like.

In the afternoons, we went to places like the Sacred City, which was a lovely relaxing place. It was great to see Buddhist culture and get a sense of the history of the place. A visit to Mihintale is a must if you want to see an amazing sunset! We also hopped to a nearby hotel’s swimming pool for a dip and a sneaky cocktail!

Weekends allowed time to relax and explore further afield with the other students. I travelled to Sigiriya, Dambulla, Kandy, Trincomalee, Colombo, and Negombo, visited tea plantations, spice gardens, temples, elephant sanctuaries, and beaches. There was a lot to do.

The Sri Lankan people were always interested in finding out about us, they were friendly and always smiling. My trip was a great life experience and I would highly recommend booking a trip with Work the World.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Work Environment

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Internship Placement

    10

My experience in Sri Lanka is one I will never forget!

I’ve wanted to complete an overseas internship placement since hearing about my friend’s experiences in our final year studying Occupational Therapy at university. I had been working as an OT for two years in London, and the time had come for me to return to Australia. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for me to stop along the way and experience first hand what OT is like in a developing country. After hearing stories and seeing photos of Sri Lanka, I started doing some research and came across Work the World. Before I knew it, I had booked to go to a hospital in Sri Lanka for four weeks.

There were two OT’s at the hospital. They worked across the OPD and Psychiatric Ward. I spent the majority of my placement in the OPD. Most cases I saw were paediatric, burns and hand therapy. Due to time constraints and a lack of resources, local OTs saw large volumes of patients, quickly. One day, one OT treated over twenty patients before eleven in the morning! It was common for two or three patients to be treated at the same time in one room, each having been instructed on exercises to complete independently.

I also spent a number of days on the Psychiatric Ward. There, the local OT would run music, gardening, cooking and sporting groups. The patients really enjoyed participating in the groups and it was lots of fun joining in with them!

Learning about local customs, values and traditions of the Sri Lankan people was fascinating. My learnings changed my perception of Occupational Therapy as I knew it. Some patients used traditional ayurveda medicine instead of seeking contemporary medical treatment from a hospital—one lady came into hospital twelve years after having a stroke. Another case was an eleven-year-old girl with quadriplegic cerebral palsy who, had only recently been seen by a medical professional. The lack of resources had a serious impact on patients and their potential to regain function and independence.

It wasn’t uncommon to see patients sharing hospital beds, water filled rubber gloves used for pressure care, and bricks under bed legs to increase ease of transfers. Local OTs frequently educated patients on how to build their own equipment at home to assist with exercises or make their home environment more suitable. Examples included a ‘web’ for hand range or motion exercises and a chair to enable a child with cerebral palsy to sit independently.

I enjoyed sharing my knowledge and ideas from home with the OTs, helping contribute to therapy sessions and the development of the local OT service. I was impressed with the breadth of knowledge and expertise that the OTs had as they currently don’t have the opportunity to specialise.

The people of Sri Lanka were always smiling and friendly, which made my time there so special! They often offered to take us out for meals and show us around the cultural city of Anuradhapura. At the weekends, the other girls and I traveled to discover more of the beautiful country. Anuradhapura is located in the ‘cultural triangle’ and some of Sri Lanka’s best destinations are easily accessible by bus, train or transfer such as Sigiriya, Dambulla, Trincomalee, Minneriya and Kandy.

My experience in Sri Lanka is one I will never forget!