Anna en México ESP Internship

Anna is currently in her final year and she has a had some amazing internship experiences. We asked her to share her story in this very first episode of “Internship Stories”.

How did you find out about this clinic?

I found this clinic in the database and it was a coincidence that I knew the only ESP student who has been there before (Michaela Cosarca). I contacted her and she told me very positively about her internship experience with Recovery so I was very excited to get a placement there.

Why did you want to share your experience there?

It was hard to imagine what Mexico would be like, from a cultural aspect and from a professional aspect. Mexico works quite differently from what I was used to, the infrastructure, the people, and their habits, their mentality etc.

This was the start of a period of very special 20 weeks where I was integrated into a young, motivated team of physiotherapists.

I had contacted the clinic and my CI before starting my internship there. I was offered to come by the clinic before my first day and be introduced to the team and get a little tour around the clinic. My CI received me and showed me around the clinic, a very nice, modern rehabilitation center with rooms to privately give therapy to the patients, areas for aerobic training, strength training and a general gym area, a separate big room to treat neurological patients and the Snoezelen room for pediatric patients. I was introduced to the team and other health professionals working there.

This was the start of a period of very special 20 weeks were I was integrated into a young, motivated team of physiotherapists. The therapists work in teams: 2 or 3 interns help a more experienced physiotherapist to treat more than one patient at the same time. This creates a unique team spirit amongst all therapists. The patients feel well attended since more than one person is responsible for their treatment and they can benefit from slightly different therapeutic approaches.

Within the team, the interns and the physiotherapist are on the same eye level and would always try to help each other out. Working with this concept and in this environment was new for me in the beginning and not always easy. However, I felt comfortable soon and noticed the vast benefit of learning from everybody around me. Other therapists were very interested in my education and open to hearing about my opinion and my approach.
This interest made me feel valued as a therapist but also the fact that everyone wanted to know about my background, my university, habits in my country and offered me many times to help out with any troubles I would encounter in Mexico


What is most precious memory of this internship?

The most precious memory I have of this internship is treating a 12-year-old pediatric patient, Elias, with cerebral palsy. He comes to the clinic 3 times a week and is treated by various physiotherapists.

This memory is really precious to me since I discovered myself having so much fun working with children, which I did not consider much before. Secondly, when Elias was at the clinic, all therapists that had a little bit of free time in this moment would join his session and play games together. Everybody laughed so much and enjoyed working with him a lot.

In what way did your ESP background allow you to actually contribute or bring something to the clinic?

Recovery works together with IPETH, one of the best universities of physiotherapy in Puebla. Therefore, all interns at the clinic were students from IPETH and I was the only intern from elsewhere. Knowing about international guidelines allowed me to contribute to this environment. My clinical reasoning varied sometimes so we tried to share therapeutic thinking processes as much as possible.

Knowing about international guidelines allowed me to contribute to this environment.

Lastly, we were recommended specific literature or articles to prepare for classes we could attend after working shifts. These articles were mostly in English, however, the English of other interns was not perfect. So I could help them out with an interpretation of certain scientific information. Knowing English and German (my mother tongue) came in handy when patients from elsewhere attended the clinic. In this case, I was able to help out with the communication during the treatment.

Apart from the clinical and professional experience, what have you enjoyed there?

I enjoyed how open Mexicans are to share their language, their culture, their food and vice versa they are so interested in getting to know about another persons’ background. They always wanted to know what this experience is like from my perspective.

The cliché that Mexicans are warm and happy people is very true

Just by living there, one learns so many things about certain habits, different foods, about how different every state in Mexico is from each other. The cliché that Mexicans are warm and happy people is very true, at least that is my opinion (this also accounts for the patients I treated there!).

Do you have any fatherly/motherly advice for this current generation of ESP students?

Choose a good variety of internship placements having in mind your professional and personal development.Take advantage of the opportunities ESP gives you (most of you do that anyways though)

Do you have any other (fun) facts to share?

Iwas by far the tallest therapist in the clinic, ok maybe as tall as 2 other guy therapists, but one of the tallest persons there for sure. Mexican people apparently associate height of a person with strength of a person so they were sometimes intimidated by me throwing balls at them with a lot of enthusiasm or giving massages and mobilizations in a way they hurt a little bit. They would sometimes call me ‘La grandota’ and joke about how I could not control my strength. Of course, I never hurt anybody at all but I am still trying to be a bit more soft and cautious now.

They would sometimes call me ‘La Grandota’ and joke about how I could not control my strength

Did you have any cultural differences that affected your internship?

Cultural differences affect my internship in a good way in terms of a long break at some point during the morning because Mexicans give a lot of importance to a nutritious ‘desayuno’ (breakfast).Other than that, it was only a language barrier that existed in the beginning, but my Spanish improved a lot during my stay.

What was the strangest/awkward moment during your time there ?

Recovery treats a relatively wealthy patient group and sometimes the patients would not rely 100% on the interns. I was treating a patient for the first time, according to her treatment protocol, but she disagreed with me and made me feel very awkward and uncomfortable. We found a solution quickly for the situation but it felt strange that a patient would try to tell me how to give her therapy correctly. I learned how I can be more confident in terms of my authority as a therapist.

Internship facts

Name of clinic clinica recovery
Name of CI: Jorge Luis Bustamante Vazquez
Timeframe February until June 2017
Patients category Neuro, Cardiovascular, Pediatrics and Geriatrics
Other clinic health professions 3 Doctors
Other special features: Snoezelen room (dutch invention!): especial room to treat pediatric patients with neurological disorders; high stimulation of all senses
additional classes/workshops to internship hours, twice a week (covered topics: lumbopelvic stability, neurodynamics, applied anatomy and palpation skills)
How can students contact you Facebook – Anna Gassner or Email –

 For more info, you can always contact Anna via her Facebook page or via her email in the button below.

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