Cultural competence in New Zealand and Canada

Occupational therapy students’ reflections on class and fieldwork curriculum

Susan J. Forwell, Isabel Dyck, Gail Whiteford

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    The first year of a twin study undertaken between two occupational therapy programs in Canada and New Zealand is described. The primary aims of the study were to illuminate the lived experiences of students as they learn about cultural difference and had contact with clients of differing cultural backgrounds to themselves during fieldwork placements. While there are similarities between educational programs and the demographic profiles of the two cohorts of students, there are curricular differences primarily based on the described socio-political content of the two countries; Aotearoa/New Zealand as a bicultural society and Canada as multicultural. The paper discusses how these cultural differences interweave with other aspects of the students’ educational program, as perceived and experienced by the students. Narrative data was thematically analyzed to reflect the experiences and the attendant thoughts and feelings of the participants.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)90-103
    Number of pages14
    JournalCanadian Journal of Occupational Therapy
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


    • Cultural competence
    • Cultural diversity
    • Curriculum development
    • Students, occupational therapy

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