Purpose: When healthcare students participate in international service-learning experiences, they are exposed to a culture that is different from their own. This exposure, accomplished through cultural and clinical activities, can help to develop their clinical skills and result in personal growth. However, the individual impact of clinical versus cultural activities on personal growth is poorly understood. This study examines the impact on personal growth of clinical activities and cultural activities during international service-learning in occupational therapy students. Methods: Qualitative interviews using a phenomenological approach were utilized to explore the lived experiences of American occupational therapy students who traveled to Morocco. Responses were coded and analyzed to identify general themes on the impact of different clinical and cultural activities. Qualities of impactful experiences were also identified. Results: Participants identified authentic clinical activities that elicited an emotional response and cultural activities that involved full cultural immersion as being most impactful for their personal growth. Conclusion/Recommendations: To support healthcare students’ personal growth, international service-learning should be designed to include authentic clinical activities that elicit emotion and reflection and opportunities for full immersion into the culture of the country abroad.
Chabot M, Mitchell M, Stevens-Nafai E, Nafai S. Impact of Clinical and Cultural Activities on Personal Growth During International Service-Learning. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2022 Jan 03;20(1), Article 11.