Back to School… In Portugal!

Author: Lindsay Thompson

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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Those of you who know me understand that there are 2 things that I like to do.  The first is to learn something new and the second is to travel. So when the opportunity came up to do both at once, naturally I jumped on it.  I had been wanting to increase my skill level  in manual therapy for some time and had been researching a course offered by an Australian team since my graduation from PT school.  Friends from school and I had talked about how much fun it would be to travel to Australia together and take this course. Unfortunately, following our graduation, something called work got in our way and we were never able to see our plan through.  That is until this past September.

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Due to the international popularity of the manual therapy course in Australia, the founders decided to offer another venue in Europe. The location was the Algarve, located in Portugal on the Mediterranean Sea.  The course was to be held in September so I contacted a good friend from university and we finalized the details for both of us to attend. It turned out to be the best decision I have made thus far in my professional career.Upon registering for the Certificate in Orthopaedic Manual Therapy my goal was simple. To take a course that would significantly increase my manual therapy skill level, all the while exploring a beautiful region of the world.  Upon completion I had achieved so much more than that. The education I received while abroad was second to none and it fit absolutely perfectly with my physiotherapy treating philosophy. I was introduced to new assessment and treatment strategies that proved to be invaluable to me upon my return home to Pivotal. The Algarve region also proved to be one of the most beautiful areas that I had ever traveled too. The food, people and culture were outstanding and it was nice to immerse myself in it for 4 weeks.

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I knew that the course would involve students from all over the world and that each of us would come with varying skill sets, however I never anticipated how important the interaction between us all would be. Students from Canada, Wales, Ireland, Denmark, Estonia, Italy, France, Australia, Hong Kong, Spain and Saudi Arabia shared their physiotherapy experiences from home.  It’s easy to think that physiotherapy is the same across the globe, and for the most part it is fairly similar, however it does vary from region to region.  Differences in treatment techniques, styles and delivery were treated as positives by the students allowing each individual to examine their own practice style and possibly make changes for the better.  This along with the numerous friends made from all over the globe turned out to be the best part of the entire experience.

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My experience in Portugal reinforced my desire to learn and increased my want to explore more of the world.  I find myself already searching the web for more opportunities to increase my knowledge and skill level. It also just so happens that I seem to filter out most of the ones that are being offered locally:)

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Lindsay Thompson MScPT

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