Five-week international innovation project in New Jersey for physiotherapy and occupational therapy students


Photos: Ulla Vehkaperä.

What happens when 27 physiotherapy and occupational therapy students from four higher education institutions from Denmark, the United States and Finland get together to study for five weeks?

The result was a plunge into new spheres, heureka moments, unforgettable experiences, international contacts and building blocks for professional identity.

Eight physiotherapy and occupational therapy students from Metropolia participated in the project which began on 30 July and ended on 31 August.

The partner for the course is Jespy House, which offers supported living and therapy services. The students learn about innovation through practical work. They were divided into five teams, trying to find innovative solutions together with their partner and the partner's customers. Their objective was to develop and to find new ways to operate in groups and communities.

"Jespy House is a good partner and eager to welcome students to bring in new ideas," says Ulla Vehkaperä, lecturer at Metropolia. "It offers a range of supported living services to its customers. They have residences for supported living and also apartments for more independent living. The customers have welcomed the students with open arms," she continues.

"I am proud of our students: they are committed, enthusiastic and skillful. One of the students actually asked: 'What have I done to deserve this fantastic experience?'," concludes Ulla Vehkaperä.

The course is carried out as close cooperation between the lecturers of four higher education institutions. The first part was in August-September in 2011 at Metropolia. The part in 2013 will be arranged by Metropoliatan Univesity College in Copenhagen.

What innovation project?

Each Bachelor's student will participate in a 10 credit point innovation project, the themes of which are derived from the needs of working life. Students and lecturers from various fields of study cooperate with businesses to plan and implement the project. Students learn about project work and multidisciplinary innovation work carried out online. During the course, they will try to find new solutions for the benefit of businesses and customers.

Further information

Lecturer Ulla Vehkaperä, tel. +358 (0)40 714 5147,

Occupational Therapy

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