Toward Optimizing Global Learning Opportunities for US Physical Therapy Students: A Description of Current Practices and Initial Recommendations
Date of Original Version
Purpose. To examine and describe the structure, curricular objectives, and outcome measurement practices of faculty developing and providing international opportunities in physical therapy education programs and to provide guidance and initial recommendations for faculty.
Background. Physical therapy educational programs are adding international opportunities as a way to address the increasingly global nature of the profession. Guidelines to enhance practice, optimize the experience, and provide structure for managing risk are warranted.
Methods. A researcher-developed survey was distributed to 216 physical therapy education programs and professional listservs. Respondents from 56 programs (26%) returned the survey. Data were analyzed descriptively.
Results. Most respondents cited global understanding as critical to the physical therapy profession, and the reason for involving students in global learning opportunities. Knowledge of the host site, sustainability, and potential strength of partnership were cited as the most important factors when choosing an international community partner. Risk management efforts included supplemental insurance, availability of emergency contact information, safe transportation and housing plans, and plans for adverse occurrences.
Conclusion. This study supplements previous literature in designing international student experiences. Activities addressing clear purposes and expected outcomes for all participants, including the community partner, and the university-community partnership before, during, and after the experience are essential.
Audette, J., Peterson, C., & Svien, L. (2018). Toward Optimizing Global Learning Opportunities for US Physical Therapy Students: A Description of Current Practices and Initial Recommendations. Journal of Physical Therapy Education, 32(1), 77-86. doi:10.1097/JTE.0000000000000027
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/JTE.0000000000000027
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