Meet the amazing Mollie Wang, who is currently participating in an occupational therapy internship abroad with VACorps. Mollie is enrolled in the Occupational Therapy Doctorate (ODT) program at Pacific University in Hillsboro, Oregon, USA and expects to graduate later this year. She joined VACorps to complete her paediatric fieldwork rotation and will be living in South Africa until early April. Mollie landed in Cape Town on the 7th of January, 2020 and inadvertently received special designation as the first VACorps intern of the new decade. We’d like to thank her for participating in the following interview, where she discusses her occupational therapy internship experience and shares some of her top moments in South Africa.

What are your impressions of Cape Town so far? Is there anything that surprises you about what you’ve encountered since your arrival?

So far, “diverse” is the first word that comes to mind! Cape Town is such a beautiful city with such a blend of cultures. The nature and amount of outdoor activities are stunning, too!  I honestly didn’t know quite what to expect and came with a fairly open mind, so I can’t think of any big surprises. Everything has been a great learning opportunity.

Why did you choose to participate in an occupational therapy internship abroad (as opposed to staying back home to do an OT internship in Oregon)?

I wanted an opportunity to learn about occupational therapy in a context outside of the United States to see the similarities and differences of our scope of practice in another culture.  I also wanted to learn how to provide care in a setting with different resources than I am used to so I can push myself, grow my skill set, and gain an outside perspective.  Plus, South Africa seemed like such a beautiful, diverse country—what a perfect place to learn!

Tell us a bit about the work you are doing at your occupational therapy internship site?

I’m interning in the occupational therapy department at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.  I work primarily in the neurology and neurosurgery wards, so I provide treatment to children with traumatic brain injuries and other neurologic conditions. In addition, I see patients in the outpatient (day) clinic ranging from children with severe burns to children with Autism or developmental delays. We work on helping kids relearn how to move, play, participate in school, and engage in all of the activities that kids want and are expected to do.

What are you enjoying most about your experience so far?

All of the people I’ve met!! I’ve met a variety of other interns, local students, local climbers, and just other community members! It has been so fun getting to know such a variety of new people and learn about South Africa from those who have lived here their whole lives! Also, all of the food has been amazing!

What adventures are on your “to-do” list before you leave South Africa?

As much rock climbing, surfing, beach time, and wine tasting as possible!  I’m hoping to get in a few weekend camping trips as well!  There is so much to see, so my “to do” list is to explore as much (food, city, culture) as I can and spend as much time outside as possible.  I’ve already checked off a few safaris and one of my bucket list climbing spots!   Bungee jumping was an adventure that was most definitely NOT on my list, but even that turned out to be a blast!

Occupational therapy internship abroad - mollie wang interview
occupational theraphy internship abroad - Mollie Wang - interview w/ VACorps