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Carina Weichhold, BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy, international student

After being out of education for eight years, Carina was naturally worried about how she would fare at university

However after completing an online access course, she was accepted on LSBU's  BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy degree as a mature student which gave her the confidence needed to excel in the degree.

Now in her final year, Carina has so far passed every module. She is especially proud because English is not her first language and she had to work part-time to support herself through university.

Having resolved to join LSBU after searching for courses online and attending an Open Day, Carina met staff who convinced and inspired her to apply. The location of LSBU is a particular benefit for Carina, as she lives outside London and has to commute. However as London Waterloo is less than a 15-minute walk away from campus, it is ideal for her.

Effective learning methods

Having worked with people with learning disabilities for seven years Carina realised she wanted to further her career and skills, and study something she was passionate about. "I particularly enjoyed the Anatomy and Physiology module in the first year because our lecturer made the topic very interactive and fun. In my third year, I really enjoyed the module Occupational Therapy: reasoning with older people, which was the module that brought everything we had learnt in the previous years together."

"One of the most interesting things I have studied was the use of technology, especially touchscreen technology within Occupational Therapy (OT) practice. It enables people with autism to live more independently and to cope better in everyday life."

The BSc Occupational Therapy course structure is very varied, combining lectures, seminars, workshops, e-learning and individual study. "Not only have I had good tutor support, but there is also excellent study support for students such as workshops and one-to-one sessions available." Students are mainly taught in the modern skills laboratory in the K2 building, where the latest equipment and materials are available; from wheelchairs and transfer equipment to assessment tools, as well as a complete kitchen and bathroom.

The nature of the seminars, which focussed on being interactive and incorporating group work and case studies into classes, was a very effective way of learning according to Carina.

Practical experience

Placements are key to bringing the practical course elements to life. Carina's first placement was for seven weeks at social services. There, she put into practice what she'd learnt on the course, and on graduation will have experience of what is required on the job.

As a first year student, the placement involved a lot of observations of OTs and other professionals, as well as being observed by an educator. OTs in this setting tend to carry out a lot of assessments, for either equipment provision or housing adaptations for clients to be able to carry on living in their own home. Because the placement involved measuring property and carrying out basic technical drawings, Carina was also involved with architects, environmental health officers and home improvement agencies.

Having taken the chance and returning to study after a prolonged gap, Carina is keen to recommend studying Occupational Therapy and LSBU to others. 

If you are interested in a rewarding career, you like working with people and you are a hands-on person then Occupational Therapy is for you. I would recommend LSBU too if you are looking for a university within a central location, with excellent transport links, a wide variety of learning opportunities and a good support network.

 
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