Contributing to a culturally and linguistically diverse society is a major part of the overall mission of Long Island University Brooklyn’s CSD program. One of our core values is to develop a strong foundation of ethics, integrity, and respect for diversity. We’re committed to serving all individuals with communication disorders, including those in underserved communities.
To meet this mission, graduate-level CSD students travel to different parts of the world each year to provide speech-language pathology services to underserved communities—including areas within South America, Russia, Haiti, Dominican Republic and Ireland.
Clinical Rotation in Colombia
This year, we traveled to Manizales, Colombia, for an international clinical rotation. It’s been about 4 years since the department last visited South America for clinical rotations and student-training purposes. In that time, the need for services has increased due to an absence of limited licensed professionals in the area.
We had the opportunity to visit 3 clinic sites—at a school, clinic, and hospital. We received such a warm welcome at each of the sites. Everyone was extremely appreciative that we were there to provide SLP services.
This experience was challenging. It involved a lot of planning, diagnostic report writing, working in various settings, and managing different languages, taking into account cultural differences and dialect. Time management is an important part about being a good clinician; and on this trip, I learned how to efficiently conduct speech, language, and cognition evaluations.
We also conducted meetings with some of the school and clinic officials—establishing a blueprint for clinical services that they’ll be able to utilize moving forward. We hope to provide follow-up treatment to clients through telepractice.
After coming back from the trip, we used our experiences to present research at this year’s NYSSLHA convention. The primary goal was to show just how much SLP services are needed in underdeveloped regions and countries.
Taking My Experience with Me as a Professional
This experience was, without question, the highlight of my grad school career. It was truly memorable and rewarding in every way—giving me the hands-on experience and a new perspective that I’ll take with me as a future professional.
I hope for more experiences abroad as a professional and encourage everyone to consider all of the possibilities available to us in our uniquely broad field. Think of all the good we can do, not just domestically, but internationally as well!