Purpose. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of an international education experience on participants’ self-perceived personal growth, international perspective, and intellectual development using a modified version of the International Education Survey (IES). Method. Seventy-one participants, representing occupational therapy practitioners and students from multiple universities, completed the survey. Results. Mean scores were highest for impact in the area of International Perspectives (M= 5.32), followed by Personal Development (M=4.65), and Intellectual Development (M=4.05). Additionally, 100% of the participants responded that all university students should be encouraged to engage in international education experiences (M=6.66). Qualitative comments related to the impact of their experiences revealed increased awareness and appreciation for cultural differences, a feeling of personal growth, and a reshaping of both personal life priorities and professional responsibilities. Study limitations include the relatively small sample size, variability of length of participants’ international experience, as well the variability in the number of immersion experiences reported. Conclusions and Recommendations. Engaging students in international immersion experiences during academic preparation had a positive impact on participants’ self-perceived cultural competence. Future research should explore the impact of the length of time and number of international experiences on practitioners’ perceptions of cultural competence as well as the impact of immersion experiences on professional practice.
Salls J, Provident I, Dolhi C. Impact of International Immersion Experiences in Occupational Therapy Education: A Retrospective Survey. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2019 Oct 29;17(4), Article 11.