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Helping migrants through an OT lens

Written by Master of Occupational Therapy students Sarah Goulder and Michelle Caza. 

We are in our second year of Bond’s Master of Occupational Therapy Program. For a short placement as a part of our course The New Global Occupational Therapist, we had the amazing opportunity to travel to Hobart, Tasmania to spend eight days at the Migrant Resource Centre (MRC Tas). The purpose of this placement was to enter a workplace that does not have an Occupational Therapist and try to see where we could implement an occupational therapy role. At MRC Tas, we joined the beginning phases of a larger project aiming to gather the stories and experiences of skilled migrants to assist newly arrived skilled migrants in their search for employment. Every person we met was strong, kind, and compassionate, whether they were at MRC Tas to volunteer their time to help others or looking for assistance for themselves. We learned so much by listening to their stories and hearing what they have gone through while searching for housing, employment, and a social network.

Sarah Goulder and Michelle Caza

As aspiring Occupational Therapists, we strive to enable people to participate in occupations that are meaningful to them. Many newly arrived migrants struggle to return to their activities of daily life, including employment. 

We used our ‘OT lens’ to look at the person in relation to their new environment and occupations they participate and wish to participate in. We gathered their invaluable stories and advice and began to convert it into manageable data that can be shared with newly arrived skilled migrants. Volunteers and future students will continue our work.

The next phase of this project will also look at the environment, and how employers and recruiters view migrant applicants.

During our short stay in Hobart we also managed to be tourists and visit some beautiful places. We spent our free time exploring Bruny Island, seeing the many shops and restaurants of Hobart, wandering through Salamanca Market, visiting MONA, and completing a stunning hike in Tasman National Park (Cape Hauy - we highly recommend it!).

We are so grateful to have had this opportunity to meet so many amazing people and get to know them. Additionally, we thoroughly enjoyed our working environment at MRC Tas, as every employee and volunteer were so kind, helpful, and welcoming. We both had a fabulous time and hope to return to Tasmania again soon.

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