While I was growing up in the Philippines, my parents always emphasized the value of education. They taught me that education is something that nobody can take away from you. This is something that has remained with me up to this date.

My brother, who is a physical therapist, influenced me to explore occupational therapy. As an international student, the majority of the graduate programs in the U.S. were too expensive for me to afford. I learned about the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program at Wright College, and after doing my own research, I decided it was the best option.

My first few months in the U.S. were challenging. I had to adjust to a new environment, different climate, and being away from my parents. Thankfully, I received great support from friends and my international student advisor, who guided me to ensure that I was adhering to all the rules and expectations required to maintain my F1 visa.

When I was accepted into the OTA program, I was delighted to have dedicated professors, and I fell in love with the field of occupational therapy. My professors’ passion for teaching provided me with the foundation and knowledge to succeed in my fieldwork rotations and successfully pass the national Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) exam.

I have now been a certified occupational therapy assistant for over seven years, and I practice in sub-acute rehab in skilled nursing facilities, outpatient therapy, home health therapy, and inpatient rehab at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital. I am currently attending the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Throughout my career as an occupational therapy assistant, I have felt it’s my responsibility to mentor and help others interested in the occupational therapy profession. I have even mentored several OTA students from Wright College.

I recently returned to Wright College to complete one of my fieldwork rotations in order to hone my skills as an occupational therapy educator. I believe that preparing future practitioners is paramount in ensuring they become successful in their chosen field of practice.

This is a field that has brought both professional and personal fulfillment to me. We not only provide interventions to our clients, but we also help them improve and achieve their maximum independence.

—Written by Ryan Caguia, Wright College, Class of 2014

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