Something New

A couple months ago I wrote about the first of my two internships and said I would write about the other later one when I had figured out more what it was. That second post never came. I started it a couple times and then stopped because it would have gone something like this:

“My second internship is really cool, I’m working in the school in Bad Kleinen giving out food to kids during their lunch break, mostly schnitzel, fries, and grilled cheese sandwiches. The hours are from 9am until 2pm (or earlier most days) and then I get the rest of the day off. I like the people I’m working with, but the learning curve is not really very high. Plus side is that I now know how a cash register works.”

This is now the second post, but it’s about (as you might guess from the title of this post) something new. As of today, my second internship is in an occupational therapy office. The first question I usually get from people both in Germany and the United States when I say occupational therapy (or Ergotherapie, depending which language I happen to be speaking) is “Oh, I’ve heard of that…what is it?” Until about a month ago I was among the people asking that question.

To be very brief, (and this is still a lot of impressions since I haven’t seen a ton of therapy in practice yet) occupational therapy is therapy for kids (some adults, too) who have some sort of problem with orienting themselves or other objects in the space around them. It’s working on motor skills, balance, concentration, and so on. When the actual methods were being described to me for the first time (by a girl in school who also is interning there a couple hours a week), I must admit I was a bit skeptical. “What do you do there?” “Oh, we play games, or sew, or build things, or paint!” Not exactly what Ms. Brown here thinks of as therapy that’s worth paying for.

Clearly, I have changed my mind, or else I would not have decided to start interning there. After I started my first internship with the disabled, I got the chance to see what occupational therapy is for myself. There are three people from the group that I am working with who go to the office once a week for therapy and as an intern, I get the option to go with. Always looking to learn something new, I thought going with would be a wonderful idea. The first time I was there with two people from my group-one blind, the other not. The goal that time was to first build a pyramid out of cans and then try to knock it down by throwing balls at it. Suddenly I understood the point of occupational therapy. Knocking down a pyramid of cans is not necessarily a simple task. What was the most interesting for me to see that day was the difference between the beginning of the session and the end of it. There was a noticeable difference that is difficult to describe but that was definitely positive.

After day one of officially being an intern, I am even more intrigued. For the first time I saw kids in elementary and middle school cooking and having to work at thinking about what they needed and in what order. Another girl (blind) standing on an oversized swing and enjoying herself.

Three months ago I had no idea what occupational therapy was. Now I’m officially an intern as an occupational therapist. Learning curve is once again high (as I can tell by my current state of exhaustion) but that is a good thing.

PS…Notice this is the second post in two days? That means I wasn’t lying when I said I’m starting to write again.


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