Internationally Educated Physiotherapists Start Their Canadian Careers at U of T

Mar 18, 2019
Julia Soudat

After immigrating to Canada, many internationally-trained physiotherapists face challenges in getting licensed and finding work. Navigating the complexities of the system as a newcomer can be overwhelming and frustrating. The Ontario Internationally Educated Physical Therapy Bridging Program (OIEPB) is a 10-month comprehensive program to help refresh physical therapy skills, navigate the licensure process and make the transition to a physiotherapy in Canada easier.

As they prepare to graduate, three of the newest OIEPB alumni share what they enjoyed most about their experiences in the program.

Veecymole Panicheparambil

Veecymole Panicheparambil Issac

Transitioning to studying after years of working was tough. After immigrating to Canada and being unable to practice, it was more of a necessity for survival than a choice based on interest alone. It took me a while to slip into the reality of being a student from the lingering past of accomplishments and titles. In the beginning, it felt like studying for 10 months would be long and arduous. But as I look back today, my experience and accomplishments amount to so much more than I could have ever imagined. Being at U of T was incredible. The vibrant team of faculty and staff have been exceptionally compassionate, open-minded and understanding towards the students.

Last but not least, sharing a class with people from around the world with different backgrounds, nationalities and experiences has been wonderful. Working collaboratively, learning from each other and sharing successes has brought us all close together and fostered a real sense of community and comradery. After my experience in the program and at U of T, I feel a greater responsibility towards the community. My learning experience didn’t end within university walls – on the contrary, it went far beyond the boundaries of academia. If I could go back in time, I would do it all over again.

Vas RajanVasanth Rajan

Completing the OIEPB program at U of T has been an amazing experience. So many aspects of the program were transformative in a way I didn’t expect. When I was getting my training in India, there was an empasis on theory-based learning. In Canada, it's been very much hands-on. U of T and the OIEPB program gave me a new way of learning, which has been an invaluable addition to my knowledge and skillset as a physiotherapist.

When I came to Canada, navigating the system was tough. I didn’t know where to turn or what the next steps were. I felt like I was stuck in a maze on the way my physiotherapy career. The OIEPB Program helped me through that and set me up for success. The mentorship, quality of education and networking opportunities I’ve received have been unparalleled. The faculty and staff are extremely dedicated, supportive and passionate about teaching, and it makes a huge impact on the learning experience. They really go the extra mile. I am so grateful for their support and encouragement. I always feel confident recommending this program to other internationally-educated physiotherapists, because I know first-hand how it works and how enriching it is.

Juliana De Castro Faria DouglasJuliana de Castro Faria Douglas

The best part of my experience in the OIEPB Program was the opportunity for professional networking. I didn’t know any physiotherapists in Canada and had no idea how I could join this community. Thanks to the program, I met physiotherapists who work in different areas and settings, and I could exchange experiences and learn a lot about their practices in Canada. The ability to network and my experience in this program has been invaluable in setting me up for many great future working opportunities.

The program also helped me refresh and update my knowledge in different areas of physiotherapy. Our professors and mentors are very knowledgeable, skilled and have a lot to share and teach us. Another fundamental characteristic of this program is the existence of labs and practical classes, which provide us with opportunities to practice hands-on throughout different cases and experiences. I think that it was the combination of all these things that made my time in the OIEPB program so special.

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