By Hannah Thompson
I am a proud Kara Kara woman from the Springsure area. I was fortunate enough to participate in an overseas clinical placement in Thailand 2017.
All students that attended went through a selection process to be chosen to participate in this placement. I applied for this trip because I knew it would contribute to further developing my skills as a clinician in a completely different setting to what I have already experienced. I predicted that there would be many challenging factors when applying such as emotional, mental and physical strain.
I spent three weeks working in a centre for orphans and abandoned children. Monday to Friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm we worked with the males and females in each centre providing discipline-specific therapy and working within a multidisciplinary team.
Being a proud Aboriginal woman, I am very aware and sensitive towards different cultures and I loved learning and experiencing the different customs. The Thai culture is full of kind people and amazing exotic foods. I loved embracing the culture whilst I was there, learning their language and trying many foods.
Studying abroad did come with its challenges. The language barrier was something that we found quite difficult. I tried to learn basic Thai language whilst I was there and I found it easier to build stronger relationships with the people. We did have access to interpreters who were amazing at their job. It was sad to leave and say goodbye to all of the incredible and inspirational clients and staff I had been working with, however, I will make sure to visit the centre next time I am in Thailand.
Another challenge that arose was forgetting the policies, procedures and regulations we work within in Australia and accept the way the centres function and operate in Thailand, in areas like manual handling and feeding of high-risk children.
This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and made me grow as an individual as well as a health professional. Visiting a country like this changed my whole outlook on life and makes you feel so incredibly lucky growing up and living in Australia. Thailand has been a unique learning experience that I will never forget.