The Summit Model: Viewing International Service Learning (ISL) from an Occupational Science Lens

Building a model of practice for International Service Learning (ISL)

Student name: Audrey Trebelhorn
Name of Mentor: Elaine Keane, OTD, OTR/L
School: Washington University in St. Louis
Setting and location: Community-based | Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador | CRECER
In-person: With some hybrid components to develop my model

To establish a model of practice for International Service Learning within the occupational therapy profession.

I wanted to experience ISL and then build or brainstorm a model from there. I participated in treating at the center as well as talked and observed fieldwork students and clients. I then applied what I saw to my model of practice.

Results/Outcomes: I was able to build a model of practice rooted in occupational science. I found that practice looks different in the global south, and that ethical considerations need to be taken in order to achieve best practice.

Conclusions: We need to look at International Service Learning critically, especially in a profession that values occupation. Occupation is extremely culture dependent.

Ideas for next steps to build on this topic:
Apply the model, and justice concepts to practice abroad and domestically. Are students and practitioners truly looking at clients through a cultural lens?

2-3 tips for students undertaking a similar project:

  1. You can’t include EVERYTHING, there is so much to explore, limit yourself to save some time and energy.
  2. No one really has good advice for a theory development capstone- forge your own path! It’s ok, I swear.

I created a student module and wrote a scholarly paper. All can be found here:

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I’ve been so curious to see what a capstone related to theory development looks like! Thank you so much for sharing this!

On your website, I’m super curious to see your final graphic, but I’m getting a message from Google that I don’t have access? I wonder if you could switch the sharing setting?

Weird! Let me take a look. Is there anything else that is not working?

@audrey7 You fixed it!! Thank you! I was just so curious- I’ve literally heard capstone coordinators say that NO ONE does projects related to theory, and I love that you are proving them wrong :slight_smile:

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Audrey I am so excited for you! Incredible how you made this happen, despite the initial bureaucratic challenges. And I love your website :slight_smile:

Thanks for sharing @audrey7 ! I love reading about international work. I’ve been a part of a lot of international service learning experiences with soon-to-be OTs and saw some great benefits, but also some potential harms. I’m wondering what your opinion is on ISL, and if everyone should be doing it/should programs be encouraging it and how can learners avoid imposing their cultural values onto others.

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