Putting others first
International student Maisha Loveday sees Otago Polytechnic’s Occupational Therapy programme as a way to give back to others.
Occupational Therapy allows you to work with such a variety of different people, in different settings, with different focuses.
Born in Zamboanga City, Philippines, daughter of a Filipino mum and a British dad, Maisha lived in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar before choosing to move to Dunedin to study at the age of 19.
“I come from quite an impoverished area of the Philippines and lots of my extended family, neighbours and many of the people in our community struggle a lot.
“Luckily, my family was able to fund my studies and was really supportive of me, encouraging me to be independent.
“A big lesson instilled in me by my mother when I was growing up was to always put others before yourself and help when and how you can. We very much ran on the ‘it takes a village’ motto . . . I think the idea of a collective is quite similar to Māori culture here, actually.
“So, hopefully, I will be able to help people in need through my Occupational Therapy career.”
As an international student, Maisha says Occupational Therapy’s New Zealand registration pathway is of great benefit.
“This registration that can be used around the world, which is very valuable to me.
“Also, it provides hands-on, practical experience (via fieldwork placements), and teaches you skills that you can use in real life.
“I can take a set of skills and apply it to many different cases. This means I’m able to try new things within my career, and keep learning and developing my skills.”
Maisha works part-time as a caregiver within an advanced dementia and hospital unit at a rest home. Although juggling study, placements and work demands can be difficult, she says her Otago Polytechnic teachers are very accommodating.
“Staff really understand that you’re a person with other commitments and responsibilities outside of the classroom.
“It really makes you feel seen.”
This exciting programme includes fieldwork placements and will lead to registration as an Occupational Therapist in New Zealand. It is also recognised by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists. Our July intake is part-time only and two courses are available - Building Cultural Competence, and Human Mind and Behaviour. You will then complete the remaining Year One courses from February next year.