• Daniel S.: Onward Participant Spotlight - 07/23/2018

    This post first appeared on Israel Campus Roundtable.

    Daniel Shoham, Brandeis University ’20, is interning this summer with Neot Geriatric Hospital with Onward Israel Boston, Haifa. 

    I feel as though my internship at the geriatric hospital is just starting to pick up. Upon arriving at the hospital, I don’t think the purpose of occupational therapy was fully explained and as a result I didn’t understand its importance. Of course, I understood that giving patients stuff to do in order to keep them from complete boredom is important, but for some reason, cutting out pictures and making games didn’t seem like the best use of my time; I didn’t feel like I was truly helping the patients.

    It wasn’t until this past week that I asked for the purpose of my work. The pictures and games are a form of treatment; they aren’t just made so the patients can pass time. The occupational therapists used the games we made in order to exercise patients’ brains during cognitive therapy, which is especially important for patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia. All of the games we had made suddenly seemed much more important and my work felt so much more meaningful. Another reason was typically, my day would start with me working with the physiotherapists for a few hours until 11am, but then I wouldn’t have anything to do until after lunch. This week I finally asked my overseer what else I could help with and she immediately found more stuff for me to do. Now on Sundays and Wednesdays, I help with cognitive therapy and help treat patients with muscle problems. Needless to say, I am much happier now that I have a better understanding of my job and more interesting jobs to help with. If I could give one piece of advice, I’d say don’t be afraid to ask questions. A few simple questions led to the most fulfilling week of my internship yet. 

    Sometimes I tend to stay home if left to myself, so I’m glad I’ve made friends that drag me out of my room. Usually I feel really drained after coming home from a (not so long) day of work, but this week was different. One day, I went on a hike after work with my friend who’s interning with me near the University of Haifa. The warm sun at the tops of the mountains contrasted with the cool shady forests at the bottoms of the valleys we hiked through; but throughout the whole hike, we were surrounded by the beauty of nature and plenty of great photo-ops. By the time we were boarding the bus to head back home, the sun had nearly set. A few days later, I was sitting in my room and my roommate asked if I wanted to come hang out on the rooftop with some people. I had no idea that would lead to a great night out in downtown Haifa.

    Lastly, just today I went bouldering at a rock climbing gym for the first time! I had heard that there was a rock climbing gym nearby and I finally decided it was time to check it out. Now I have a new hobby! I had a lot of fun at the climbing gym and I plan to continue climbing when I get back home. No matter how long I’m here, it always seems like there’s more to do. Now I just have to make a long overdue visit to the Baha’i gardens…