Student Spotlight: Juan Pablo Saa OTD/S '15
Juan Pablo Saa, OTD/S '15, Santiago, Chile
What advantages does the Program in Occupational Therapy at Washington University School of Medicine offer you that other programs don’t offer?
Besides helping me enhance my abilities as an occupational therapist in an intimate, personalized environment, The Program in Occupational Therapy at Washington University School of Medicine also provides us with the opportunity of learning the most up-to-date treatment approaches from professors that are also experts and in many cases world leaders in what they do.
Why did you choose Washington University?
I chose Washington University in St. Louis primarily because I was offered the opportunity of becoming a graduate student through the McDonnell International Scholars Academy: a Washington University program dedicated to foster research partnerships between universities all around the world. I also chose Washington University School of Medicine because it has one of the best occupational therapy programs in the country.
Why did you choose the degree program you did?
I chose the PPOTD as a tool to become a better occupational therapist with an international focus. Washington University in St Louis has the tools I am looking for to enhance my professional skills through current research, fieldwork and understanding of culture.
What can you say about the quality of education you are receiving?
The quality of education received at Washington University is helping me strengthen all the basics in occupational science I learned in Chile, with advanced and updated methodologies that will help me increase the quality of service I will offer my clients.
What is the learning atmosphere like?
The learning atmosphere is exceptional. The close relationship with faculty, mentors, classmates and staff makes all the complexities of a graduate-level education much easier and inspiring, which ultimately encourages me to keep gaining a better understanding of human occupational performance. The quality of the material provided is extraordinary, with tools that will be useful in different fields of practice.
What do you like best about attending the Program in Occupational Therapy?
I like the nice, friendly and warm social environment that our program offers. The support given by our professors and staff is fantastic, as well as the comfort and commodities of our facility.
As a group, how would you describe your classmates?
I would describe them as a very intellectual, hardworking and determined group of people. Most of them participate in extracurricular activities oriented to help people improve their participation in their environment, enhancing at the same time their abilities as future practitioners They have a variety of personalities and backgrounds. I like the fact that they are very responsible, oriented and always willing to help, not only with school, but also with other areas of life.
How would you describe the faculty?
I would describe them as leaders who are also experts in areas in which you don’t find many others around the world. They are also constantly looking out for us, offering professional as well as personal support. I like the unique type of relationship they are able to generate with each one of us. They sometimes know and remember things you would never expect they would.
What about the school do you most want prospective students to know?
Great, up-to-date, fun and one of the greatest schools in occupational therapy nationwide. Here you will find all sorts of resources but also splendid people who are going to support you whenever you need it.
What do you think of living in St. Louis?
It is a pretty balanced city in terms of population density, it has nice green areas where you can go spend some time with your friends or go for a run. It isn’t an expensive city at all and it has fun things to do throughout the year. Also, the campus is at a great location close to the stunning Forest Park; if you don’t want to spend a huge amount of money and you also want to get one of the best possible educations for occupational therapy school, come to St. Louis.
What do you plan to do after graduation?
I want to practice in an adult setting, specifically in the area of cognitive rehabilitation after stroke. I also want to pursue another degree, maybe a master’s in public health, a post-doc or a PhD. It doesn’t really matter which thing I do first, so it will all depend on how things turn out in the next couple of years.