Karina goes to Cape Town

Karina Taveras Start Date: May 24, 2018 - End Date: May 23, 2019
  • Cape Town, South Africa

My Travel Story

by: Karina Taveras Start Date: May 24, 2018 - End Date: May 23, 2019
Anyone who knows me knows that I love children and working with them. I have been working as a Speech-Language Pathologist Assistant for almost three years now with children of various diagnoses such as Autism and Down Syndrome as well as language/articulation delays. As much as I love what I do and the impact I make on these children's lives, I recently have had a change of heart on what I wanted to do long term. 

After much thought, I decided to pursue becoming a Certified Child Life Specialist. For those unaware, a Child Life Specialist is a pediatric healthcare professional that help infants, children, youth and families cope with the stress and uncertainty of acute and chronic illness, injury, trauma, disability, loss and bereavement. They provide evidence-based, developmentally and psychologically appropriate interventions including therapeutic play, preparation for procedures, and education to reduce fear, anxiety, and pain. 

I have recently been accepted into Nova Southeastern University where I will complete a Master's degree in Developmental Disabilites with a concentration in Child Life. Here, I will complete my education in order to take the exam to become certified. Along with specific Child Life courses, I will also need to complete an internship. Most organizations and hospitals that provide internships require a practicum. With my desire to travel the world, I have been drawn to complete my practicum abroad. I found this great company called Connect 123 that provides internships, in my case a practicum, for students of various career fields in different parts of the world. During the summer months, the program is led by a Child Life Specialist that travels to Cape Town, South Africa to provide a month long practicum for Child Life students. 

The 4-week program runs from June 1 to June 29, 2019 and, as students will have over 100 supervised hours, is designed to meet Child Life Council practicum standards at the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital. Through experiential learning and observation, students will increase their knowledge of basic child life skills related to play, developmental assessment, and integration of child life theory into interventions with children and families.

I decided to travel abroad for my practicum experience because I will be able to gain experiences that I cannot gain in the US. I will be able to engage with locals and gain insight on how they cope with sickness. I will be able to gain valuable experience in an interanational setting. Lastly, make a lasting difference on the lives of children in hospitals through my skills in psychology/play therapy. 

Please help me fund my travel to make a difference in the lives of children that live in a country where Child Life Specialists aren't available to provide preparation, comfort and support during their hospital stay. Also, please help me fund my travel to become the best student I can be to, in turn, become the best Child Life Specialist I can be. 

- Karina

  • Cape Town, South Africa