Monday, July 30, 2012

Cave Tour - A Reflection by Carol Beckel

When I am in Belize it is often difficult for me to step back and take some time to enjoy my surroundings. So much work to be done. But, this past week I took part in the Hillside Cultural Day for the first time. The clinic puts this day together to help students and volunteers learn more about the many cultures of Belize.

The early part of the day included a trip to Nim Li Punit which is a site of an ancient Mayan city. The secret history major in me really enjoyed learning more about the ancient Mayan culture and the views of southern Belize from the top of this mountain were breathtaking. Next, we visited the Ixchel Women’s Group where Mayan women are trained in the many arts and handcrafts from the Mayan tradition. We learned a great deal and had an incredible lunch. I even spied a gray cat lounging on a chair hanging up in the rafters so, BONUS!

The next part was a tour of Blue Creek Cave. Please pause for a moment, Dad, you might not want to read this part out loud to Mom. I’ve been on many cave tours in America neatly choreographed with lighting, clear pathways, and of course, a gift shop at the end for those lovely bat souvenirs. This was not that kind of cave tour. A tour of Blue Creek Cave begins with an approximately 1 mile hike/climb/wade through water just to reach the opening. When I say climb, I really mean climbing but not with the appropriate equipment over nice dry rocks. No, I mean climbing over jagged rocks covered in moss with my close toed sandals that are ideal for water…but not climbing! Have I mentioned I’m about 20 years older than all the other students and volunteers?

I was by far the slowest mover as I had to predict which leg was best to lead so that I could get my stronger left leg in the best position and avoid greater stressors on my right leg with the “bad knee”. This was fairly impossible unless I just took to hopping from one rock to the next. The lovely part was that the students and Stacy, the other PT here, were very encouraging and lent a hand as necessary. Our tour guide also quickly identified me as “the weakest link” and always seemed to be right where I needed him for tough spots.

When we reached the mouth of the cave, it was breathtaking. The river flowed out and over a short waterfall within about 50 yards of the entrance. This cave is frequently not accessible during the rainy season but fortunately, the water was low enough and not too fast moving. We stripped down to our swim suits. “No shoes allowed” was not what we expected but we decided we had come this far so no quitting now. Our guide assured us the rocks were very smooth in the cave. We also put on our Cyclopes like head lamps and into the water we went.

When your very experienced cave guide says “You must stay to the right!” it really is best to follow his directions. We crept along the wall of the cave on the right recognizing quickly that the life preservers we wore around our waist was not just some exercise in safety, these were necessary to help combat the strong flow of the river and the delightful little undertows that occurred in certain places along the way. Why did we wear traditional around the neck life preservers around our waist…again, just trust the cave guide.

I have to thank my parents at this point for the many, many, many hours of swim practices they endured. At different points we would cross the flow of the river once in the cave and my strong kick really came in handy. We all worked together to catch each other and make sure we made it back safely to one side of the cave.

At one point we had to exit the water, climb over a short path before descending a fairly steep rock wall to re-enter the water. Remember the part about the “smooth rocks in the cave”? That really only relates to those rocks that have millions of gallons of water pouring over them day after day for thousands of years. Those other rocks above the water line were sharp, jaggy, and yes, still slippery. I definitely do not walk barefoot on rough surfaces at home enough to develop the calluses necessary to be a future cave guide.

We reached a point where the current was truly too swift so we had to turn back. Wow, it is much easier to move WITH the current rather than AGAINST the current. We emerged from the cave cooler and happier. At least I was until I realized it was now time to go back down the path! I am happy to report I made my way back down the path only twisting one ankle slightly and jamming my right knee just once. Even though I did skip the rope swings and jumping off the platform into the river, I chalked this up to succeeding at another physical challenge. I was very happy to be 30 pounds lighter and to have much stronger cycling legs for this trek.


Jason Bennett in the Saint Louis Post Dispatch

Check out Jason Bennett’s interview with the Saint Louis Post Dispatch on tips for staying healthy and hydrated during hot weather exercise!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Jessi Rosecrans and the St. Jude Run

St. Jude Memphis to Peoria Run

Jessi’s running group, Segment #4

Hello! My name is Jessi Rosecrans and I am a PYII. Just last week, I participated in the St. Jude Memphis to Peoria Run that benefits the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This is my 4th year on the run.  When I started I had no idea how the run would change my life. St. Jude is an amazing place that treats childhood cancer. It was founded by Danny Thomas in 1962 who believe that “no child should die in the dawn of life.” At St. Jude, no child is denied treatment due to the inability to pay. Whether a child has insurance or not, they receive the best treatment St. Jude has available. Can you imagine working at a place where you can give your patients the very best treatments available, even if it’s not covered by insurance? Or if they have no insurance at all? More importantly, imagine the relief of the parents of these patients who have just received the worst news they could imagine, and are able to give their child the best care available without one worry of cost. I started running for St. Jude because I loved kids and hated cancer, but the last four years of hearing stories and meeting patients and their families has given me millions more reasons to run.

So here’s the logistics of the run: there are 171 Memphis to Peoria runners, each asked to raise at least $3000. They run the 465-mile trek from Memphis, TN to Peoria, IL.  The runners are broken into two teams, Gold Team or Blue Team. Within each team there are 9-10 motor homes that we live in for the 5 days we’re on the run. We eat, sleep, and somewhat shower on these motor homes. Needless to say, you and your motor home mates get pretty cozy after running, sweating, and sleeping together for 5 days.

All 20 motor homes leave from Peoria, IL Tuesday morning and drive down to the St. Jude hospital in Memphis, TN. Wednesday morning we all meet in the hospital for awards for runners who have run for 10, 15, or 20 years (this year was the 31st annual run), and runners who have raised over $10,000 the previous year. The head MD of St. Jude, Dr. Bill Evans usually gives us a talk about what’s going on in the hospital. The big thing for the past couple of years has been the Pediatric Cancer Genome Project that St. Jude has partnered with Washington University to complete the entire genome of 600 cancer patients. I was able to visit the lab and talk to the researchers at Washington University the week before the run, and they are doing some pretty amazing stuff. It will be exciting to see how it changes the way we treat cancer in the future using our own unique DNA. Rick Shadyac, the CEO of ALSAC (the fundraising part of St. Jude) also gave us a pep talk before the run.

The Head MD of St. Jude, Dr. Bill Evans

At noon on Wednesday we started our 465-mile journey back to Peoria. Since there are 171 runners, the runs are broken down by team which further breaks the runs down by segment. For example, I was on Gold Team which runs first. I also ran segment 4. So Gold Team started running at noon on Wednesday in 6 mile segments. Segment 1 ran the first 6, segment 2 miles 6-12, etc. All the Gold Team motor homes drove 6 miles ahead of the runners currently running and cheered them on as they finished up. While the Gold Team was running, the Blue Team drove approximately 50 miles ahead of us and camped. At the camp sites we ate, showered, and slept for 4-5 hours at a time and waited for the running Team to meet up with us. While we were running, there was always a “Chase Van” following us to provide water, Gatoraide or rest if needed it. Each Team ran 5 different times. So for each runner its 6 mile segments x 5 = about 30 miles. There is always someone running at all times, rain or shine. One of my favorite runs was through Carbondale, IL around 2am. There always seems to be interesting characters after midnight in a college town…

Us runners eat pretty well on the run. We have a motor home of chefs that drive ahead to our camp site spots and prepare meals for us like steak sandwiches, spaghetti, eggs & bacon…we definitely got spoiled when it comes to food. There’s also some very nice places we stop that over the years have wanted to help us in some way. In Kentucky there’s a place called Harper’s Ham that makes us BLTs and in Pana, IL we stopped at the pool for a potluck. However, the living conditions in the motor homes may be a little less than ideal. When we started running in Memphis this year it was 105 degrees, and most of the generators can’t seem to handle that kind of heat, which means the air goes out at least once in every motor home every year. And when I say we “shower” in the motor homes, I use that word carefully. Since there are 8 people in your motor home who need to shower, there’s a very limited supply of water. A St. Jude Run shower means turning on the water for a couple seconds to rinse off, turning it off to soap up, and turning it back on a couple more seconds to rinse off again. The sleeping arrangements can also get pretty interesting. Our motor home this year had 8 people, which meant 3 people had to sleep on the floor and 2 on a less than comfortable couch. While many runners take vacation time to participate in the run, it’s not your regular vacation. However every runner is dedicated and puts up with the bumps along the way for one reason: the kids.

A patient from the hospital sees the runners off

So after 5 days of running, eating, “showering”, and getting a total of about 15 hours of sleep, we arrived in Peoria, IL. All 170 of us ran across the bridge to meet the other runners and our families. There are 28 auxiliary runs from local places like Elmwood, IL to Chicago and St. Louis that meet in Peoria. The 2000 runners from all the different runs jog into the Peoria Civic Center for the St. Jude telethon. At the telethon, the runs present their checks and the phone lines are opened for people to call in and donate. Local St. Jude families are interviewed to tell their story and how St. Jude has changed their lives. After a long week, it reminded us of why we come back every year and put in all the miles: for the kids.

This year a dedicated group of just 171 runners raised $820,000 for St. Jude. All the runs combined raised $2,900,000. And the total number for the telethon including all the runs, the donations called in from people all over central Illinois, and different fundraisers throughout the year was $7.1 million. When I heard that number I couldn’t be prouder of my community.

Motor home mates, Gold 9
The St. Jude Run has changed my life significantly. Every year I look forward to meeting up with my St. Jude family once again. They are the most dedicated people I have ever met and I couldn’t be prouder to call myself a runner. I even met my fiancé on the run (this was his 11th year)! Jon’s (my fiancé) sister Amy was a St. Jude patient 14 years ago who lost her life. Jon and his family are proof that you’re not just going to a hospital, you’re joining a family. Even though Amy lost her life, her family has spent the last 14 years taking care of the rest of their St. Jude family. Which is why there is no place like St. Jude. We run for those who can’t, and we will keep running until we don’t need to anymore.

Jessi and her fiancé, Jon

Success has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It's what you do for others. – Danny Thomas, founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Discovering Physical Therapy

 Presented to you by the Class of 2016 and originally compiled by Chandni Patel

Here’s a blast from the bulletins of past. Some time ago the Program in Physical Therapy had a bulletin board that featured a project that the Class of 2016 had in DPT 110. The objective of the project was to discover physical therapy in different places on the Frost Campus (also known as North Campus) of Saint Louis University. Various physical therapy settings were to be discovered: geriatrics, pediatrics, home health, rehab/skilled nursing facility, sports/orthopedic and acute care. Read on to see what they discovered!

By using the physio ball, the athlete can strengthen their muscles. With a combination of cross training, using this ball will get the patient back to their regular activities and reduce further injury.

The volleyball can be used to improve a child's balance, stability, and coordination.This is especially helpful when standing on one foot. Balls can be used in pediatric therapy to play catch with the kids in order to improve their hand-eye coordination. Also, you could use the ball to pass it back and forth and stand on one foot to work on balance.

For geriatric therapy many patients need to work on their balance. The ball could be used in many great exercises to improve this area for patients.  Exercise balls and other balance equipment can be found in the Simon Rec.


Using the grass from outside is a great tool that can be used in the field of outpatient care. The grass is used as a tool for stabilization and strengthening of the muscles in the legs, ankles, and feet. Also helps with coordination as well.

Bean Bag Toss
In pediatrics, a game, such as Bean Bag Toss, can be used to develop range of motion as well as strength. It is also a fun interactive game.


Stairs with a railing can be used to build up the patient’s endurance. Stairs are an obstacle that they will face at home, so it is important that the patient can walk up a flight of stairs to ensure their survival at home.

Home health
In home health, stairs can be used to strengthen the patient’s legs and improve balance to prevent falls.  Patients will go up and down a few stairs at a time with the goal of increasing the number of stairs to improve endurance and help them get in and out their home.

         Doing exercises such as high knees on stairs help to strengthen and stretch leg muscles.

These stairs could be used in the area of pediatric physical therapy. The child could strengthen their leg muscles by doing repetitions of walking up and down the stairs.  


The more people on the hammock, the more weight there is for a patient to push, pull, and hold the hammock in place.  The fluidity of the hammock motion provides constant activity.

Soda Cans

Home health             
One item that is found in most homes is cans of pop/soda. These cans can be used as weights in the home setting.

Water bottle           

Rehab/skilled nursing
By using a water bottle as a weight, we can either make it lighter or heavier based on his progress. This picture relates to skilled nursing facility as well. This therapy is for adults who have had a disease, such as Pneumonia, which caused them to lose an extreme amount of muscle mass.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Theresa Bernsen Memorial Award 2012

This year marks the official formation of the Theresa Bernsen Memorial Award. Theresa Bernsen (1965-2010) was the first Honors graduate in Physical Therapy, receiving her undergraduate Honors Physical Therapy degree from Saint Louis University in 1986.  She joined the Physical Therapy faculty in 1991 as an instructor, was promoted to assistant professor in 1998, and then to associate professor in 2008.  In addition to her faculty responsibilities, she served as advisor to the Honors students in the Program in Physical Therapy. In recognition of her tireless work in assisting Program in Physical Therapy students enrolled in the Honors Program, the Theresa Bernsen Memorial Award has been established to help Program in Physical Therapy Honors students meet expenses associated with completing their Honors Thesis.

The 2012 recipient of the Theresa Bernsen Memorial Award, Juliana Silver is a Program in Physical Therapy student in her senior year. In regards to receiving the award Silver says, “My main message is that receiving this award in Theresa's name is a huge honor and I'm thankful to her family for creating the Memorial Fund.” Silver remembers meeting Theresa at her orientation to the Program in Physical Therapy and speaking to her for a long time about the honors program. “Her enthusiasm for honors work was one of the things that drew me to SLU.  I’m privileged to receive this award in her honor!”

The project Silver created to receive the award was conducted over a 4 week period in the summer of 2011 in Akko, Israel as part of SLU-Madrid’s summer abroad program. Below Silver describes the project and her inspiration for creating it while in Akko:

Juliana Silver at the archaeological dig site in Akko, Israel

I took part in an archaeological dig called “Southern Plain of Akko Project," with students from all over the world.  While I was there, many people experienced back pain from the work.  The lack of proper body mechanics, combined with the long workday is what I attributed to the cause of the back pain. I wanted to create something that could be distributed to future archaeological students to help minimize low back pain. The first part of my project was a literature review of research done on a variety of workers that experienced back pain from bad postures, or from lack of education on proper body mechanics.  This allowed me to take information from other professions and apply it directly to the work of archaeologists.  The second part of my project consisted of creating laminated cards that have photos of proper and improper body postures to be aware of while working at the dig site.  The cards were sent to the dig coordinator in Israel, where she is hopefully using them right now.  I also was able to present this project to the Physical Therapy Student Council in April. I knew I wanted to use my experience in Israel as inspiration and this fit perfectly with physical therapy.  It was important that my project was something tangible, but was easy to use and send to Israel.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Congratulations to our Physical Therapy Billiken A-10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll recipients!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Halfway Reflection from Belize

Carol Beckel is halfway through her time in Belize – read her latest update below:


No, this will not be a reflection on math. As most of you know, math is not my strong suit. It is very fortunate that the exchange rate here is 1 USD (US Dollar) to 2 BZD (Belize Dollar). I can predict the correct change nearly 85% of the time or ¾…wait that would be 75% of the time, oh never mind.

Since 2009, I have spent approximately 1/12 of each year in Belize. Normally a fraction like 1/12 wouldn’t seem like a very large amount. And I tell myself that each year as I prepare for the journey. I am a natural home-body. Up until 2009, I lived in St. Louis for all but 18 weeks of my life when I completed clinical rotations in Cincinnati and Indianapolis (I know, 2 other large Midwestern cities really don’t count as a big stretch). Given the option of going out or staying in, I will most likely pick staying in. So it is rather striking that at the age of 39, I decided that I could live in a completely different environment for one month. Those who know me best may still be scratching their heads.

I would not change, shorten, or alter any of my time in Belize. But this year as I reach the half-way point to this trip, it struck me what I missed this year and past years. I have not been in the US for the 4th of July since 2008. This holiday always reinforced for me how fortunate I was to be a woman in America and all the rights and privileges that entails.  

I miss the best part of the outdoor concert season in the city. Those are always lovely evenings with friends and food when a good conversation makes it irrelevant if you cannot hear the music.

I miss the All-Star Game. This now includes 2 that took place in the State of Missouri. It will be another 100 years before that happens again. I also miss some of the hottest days at the ball park watching my beloved Cardinals.

I miss the “relaxed” time in my office when faculty actually have some time to step back, assess, organize, and recharge for the next academic year.

I miss the St. Matthew the Apostle Catholic Church Annual Auction. It is a great time for fellowship and laughter. While I’m in Belize the St. Peter Claver Parish and the Novitiate Nazareth are my spiritual homes, but St. Matt’s is never far from my mind.

I miss some of the biggest movie releases of the year. By the time I get home, everyone has seen them and I’m faced with waiting for home release dates. This does not compare to the stark difference of leaving the hot climate of St. Louis for a freezing cold theater to relax for just a few hours.

I miss running errands on Sunday with Stephen, trips to Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, catching up with friends, spontaneous bar-b-ques, fresh corn on the cob, and those lazy summer evenings when any temperature below 90 is a relief.
One of the hardest parts is I miss my sister Debbie and my sister-in-law Carrie’s birthdays each year. In the past I’ve been prepared with cards and gifts ready for distribution by my mother. This year my preparation was hindered by sick cats, last minute work tasks, and the fatigue of being another year older myself. Even when I am prepared, this isn’t really enough to let them know how much they mean to me and how much I want to wish them happy birthday at least by phone.

One-twelfth of a year is not nearly enough time to spend at Hillside, and yet spending even this much time means I run at a frenetic pace the remaining 11/12 of the year to catch-up on my St. Louis life and prepare for a return to Punta Gorda.

I can’t give up either part of the year. In the end, my brain, my body, my heart will always be split 50/50.


Friday, July 13, 2012

When One Door Closes…You Probably Have Five More to Open!

       Program in Physical Therapy Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Education, Carol Beckel’s 2nd reflection from Belize:

            Since my first trip to Punta Gorda, Belize, I’ve stayed in a variety of places. During my first trip I stayed in the guest room with my beloved friends, the Sisters of Nazareth Novitiate. For the first 10 days of my second trip I stayed again with the Sisters, but this time moved to the Novice House in a much simpler room. I admit I was weak that trip and felt very isolated and as the Sisters prepared for a 10 day SILENT retreat, my mind became frantic and I quickly made “alternative arrangements”. I moved into the “doctors apartment” at Hillside as it was open. I quickly adapted to solitude with the option to visit with staff and students for companionship. The toughest part was being left to my own terrible cooking…luckily you can get the ingredients for spaghetti in Belize.

          During the next two trips, I stayed in Abby’s House which primarily houses the students completing clinical rotations at Hillside. I enjoyed my two years with the students acting at times as an advisor, den mother, and squabble settler. I learned so much from the students and learned much about community life.

          This  year when I arrived, I headed toward the front door of Abby’s House only to learn I would be bunking in “The Tree House” with the Hillside nurse. I was immediately struck with a moment of “awe”. In the past three years, this was “sacred space” for the nurses serving at Hillside. I would be invited up occasionally for a meal or a chat, but I generally left the space alone. The building is not an actual tree house but a comfortable 4 rooms in two buildings connected with a breeze-way. The entire structure rests on 30’ stilts.

          I am bunking in the room I always considered the “kids room” because during my first year it was the bedroom for the two children of James and Hannah, the husband and wife nurse practitioners who were the medical directors that year. To reach this room you first enter the screen door and wooden door into the kitchen. You next go through the kitchen door that leads to the breeze-way, go through the door to the front bedroom, the first door to bathroom, the second door to the back bedroom and there you are, in your bedroom! I was a little tired the first night that I was led through this maze. When my suitcases became stuck in the 6 inches between the bathroom sink and shower I had to laugh. Losing 30 pounds this past year seemed even more important in that moment!

          The good news is, I can exit my bedroom by one door alone and then head down the back steps. I do this some mornings to avoid disturbing my housemate since I am a Beckel and I naturally wake up at insanely early times. Eventually though, I have to open at least one door to the bathroom or a door to reach the kitchen. And of course, being in a jungle with lots of rain, EVERY door sticks and requires a bit more persuasion to close.

          Each day I try to stand in my bedroom in the morning and think through exactly what I need to take for that day. Am I driving today – I need the truck keys. Are we working the Education Center – better take my laptop and cord. No matter the extent of my planning, though, I inevitably reach the kitchen only to moan that I forgot my medicine, my water bottle, my wallet, etc and I reverse my trek.

          I am now taking this on as a mini-mental challenge each day. So far, I would give myself a “D” at best. Tonight I told my housemate I was going to my room at 7:30 to respond to e-mail for a bit. I was back in the kitchen within 5 minutes to retrieve a water bottle for the night. I don’t really need the water right now, but in case I do in the middle of the night, it will save me a lot of work to have one inside the 4-door gauntlet.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Article from the American Academy of Neurology on Artist Chuck Close

For neurology and art fans alike: check out this inspiring article on artist Chuck Close from the American Academy of Neurology!


Why did you choose your site?
I chose to study abroad in Australia because I love the sun, the ocean and being outdoors. What better place than Down Under itself? Australia is also a difficult place to simply visit on vacation, but I’ve always wanted to go, so I thought living there for 3 months would suffice! 

What did you anticipate? Were you nervous? Excited?
As I prepared to head to Australia I was extremely excited, but had a few nerves to take along with me too. I was about to take on a 3 month adventure in the furthest place I could have picked from home - and not to mention by myself!

What surprised you the most about your experience? What about the other culture surprised or shocked you?
Going to Australia, I wasn’t expecting to gain a lot of cultural experiences. However, the minute I walked off the plane into the Land Down Under, I knew I would be mistaken. People there are both friendly and extremely hard to understand. I was a lost American with a large bag of luggage and was helped by so many people, but understood hardly any of them. Here I was thinking that I was travelling to a place that spoke English - it can’t be that hard. Australian language is not English. They speak fast and they use words I had never heard of before. It took me a while to finally understand what they were saying and by the end of my experience I was able to interpret for others and was speaking the Aussie language.

What did you see (monuments, historical sites, palaces, etc.) that impressed you the most?
Australia is truly a beautiful place and I was incredibly fortunate to be able to travel to a few places. We stayed in Gold Coast, Australia which is on the East Coast between Sydney and Cairns (where the Great Barrier Reef is). The beaches there were beautiful - beaches all over Australia were beautiful. My friends and I travelled to Sydney Australia where we were able to climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge in the evening and get a breath-taking view of the Opera House. The next day we dressed in our best to hop on the train to the Sydney Opera House and see the Australian Ballet. Being able to see a show in the Opera House was life-changing. It was beautiful. Another trip I went on was to Cairns, Australia. That weekend I went skydiving, bungy jumping, ATV riding and scuba diving over the Great Barrier Reef. Needless to say, it was the best weekend ever. Those trips were my main ones, but I was also fortunate enough to travel to many other places around Australia.

Can you describe some of the food that you loved best? Any food experiences that didn’t go as planned/well?
Food there was delicious. I had some of the best fish of my life and that is actually where I started loving seafood. However, there was one time my roommate and I ordered an octopus salad thinking the octopus would be cooked. We were wrong and it was gross. But, to this day I have yet to have better seafood than I did walking off the beach to grab some fish n’chips. That was the life.

Did you make friends with some of the people native to that site? What was that experience like? Did they make you notice things about your own culture that surprised you?
Most of the friends I made in Australia were natives of Australia or were studying at the University from all over the world. They helped show me Australia beyond the tourist experience. I learned how to speak “Aussie” from them and was able to experience authentic Australian locations less populated with tourists. They also helped enlighten me on how the rest of the world (or at least how Australia) views America, or, “The States,” as they called it. Things I just assumed everyone knew about the US, they informed me they did not. For example, they haven’t the slightest clue how far states are in relation to each other. Stating I was from Kansas and went to school in Missouri meant nothing to them expcept I was the girl from Kansas who travelled to Oz (ironically, a nickname for Australia) and they wondered where my little dog Toto and my ruby red slippers were. The friends I made in Australia are still some great friends of mine and we have kept in touch over the years since I left. I know when I go back to Australia, I will have a lot of different places to stay.  

How were your classes? Did you have the opportunity to take a class that fit into the culture of that site (such as art history of Spain, etc.)?
I had to take 2 higher level electives and 2 lower level electives. The 2 higher level electives were difficult because in both those classes I was with people who were graduating and that was one of there last classes they needed before graduating. They were interesting and I got to learn how higher level education worked in Australia, but they were more difficult than I expected. However, my lower level electives were both culturally related to Australia and they were amazing. I was able to learn so much about the history of Australia and the culture. Both classes helped better my experience in Australia.

Would you recommend that other PT students study abroad? Would you recommend your site to them?
I believe every PT student should study abroad. It was the best experience of my life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I learned so much about myself as well as a different culture. I got to experience things I would have never been able to do otherwise and made some great friends a long the way. I would definitely recommend Australia for anyone interested in studying abroad. It was adventure-filled with lots of sun, sand and salt water.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Why did you choose your site?
I chose to study abroad at SLU Madrid because it offered more classes than many of the other programs and it was very affordable. 

What did you anticipate? Were you nervous? Excited?
I was more excited than nervous. Studying abroad was the first time I had been out of the country. The opportunity to study in a foreign country and travel for four months was amazing.

What did you see (monuments, historical sites, palaces, etc.) that impressed you the most?
Vatican City and the many museums Paris has to offer.

Did you make friends with some of the people native to that site? What was that experience like? Did they make you notice things about your own culture that surprised you?
I did make several friends from different nationalities, but what was equally exciting was meeting new people from SLU. Many of my close friends from the U.S. did not study abroad, so I had the opportunity to meet many new people.

How were your classes? Did you have the opportunity to take a class that fit into the culture of that site (such as art history of Spain, etc.)?
The classes were much more relaxed than in the U.S. Yes, you were expected to attend class and fulfill all assignments, but the teachers knew you wanted to travel as well and understood that study abroad was unlike any other experience we have had.

Would you recommend that other PT students study abroad? Would you recommend your site to them?
Yes. I wish I could go back now. The study abroad program is great. I highly recommend Madrid, but I imagine you cannot go wrong with any location.