Global Perspectives: NYU OT Students Study Rehabilitation in Israel

This year, Associate Professors Yael Goverover and Gerry Voelbel from NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Occupational Therapy traveled to Israel with students to participate in a course entitled “Disability in a Global Context.”

Taking place in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and surrounding communities, the class focused on the services available to individuals with disabilities living in Israel through an exploration of local schools, hospitals, markets, museums, and other spaces.

By incorporating this international study into their coursework, students had the opportunity to compare and contrast the rehabilitation programs available to children and adults with disabilities in Israel with those offered in the United States.

Professors standing in the desert with arms outstretched.
Professors Goverover and Voelbel, who taught Disability in a Global Context during the 2019 January Intersession.

In particular, the course investigated the impact of Israel’s unique cultural, political, and historical context in shaping the rehabilitation services offered throughout the country.

The course also enabled students to interact first-hand with state-of-the-art occupational therapy technology available in Israel. At Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, students experienced the intersection of virtual reality and rehabilitative therapy and learned how computerized technology, sensors, and video analysis can help speed patient recovery.

A student on a treadmill in front of a TV screen.
A student trying a virtual reality therapy technique available at The Virtual Reality Training Facility at Sheba Medical Center..

Between lectures, hands-on field visits, and interviews, students also had time to partake in quintessential Israeli activities, such as swimming in the Dead Sea, hiking in the Negev Desert, and tasting local cuisine.

Throughout these experiences, students benefited from Professor Goverover’s nuanced knowledge of Israeli culture and customs as a native of the country.

A group photo of the class standing in the sea.
The class swimming in the Dead Sea and enjoying the area’s mineral-rich mud.

Next year, students will have the opportunity to study with OT faculty in London and Shanghai — check out NYU Steinhardt Global Affairs for future application dates.