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Kellie Tedjo BSc Occupational Therapy, 2018

Occupational Therapist, Singapore

Kellie Tedjo's Photo

Hi, I'm Kellie Tedjo and I studied Occupational Therapy at the University of Southampton.

In my first year, I was attached to an acquired brain injury (ABI) unit. My supervisor and OT team made sure that I was given every opportunity to learn how OT impacts recovery and community rehabilitation.

Why did you want to study BSc Occupational Therapy? 

I aspired to work with people in helping them live life to the fullest. As an occupational therapist, I would be able to empower individuals to engage in occupations to achieve health and well-being in their communities. Occupational therapy adopts a holistic approach, understanding the individual as a person, environmental, and occupational level. I hope to support people through meaningful occupations in their journey.

What made you choose the University of Southampton?

I was drawn to the University of Southampton, known for its world-class research and Russell Group reputation. More importantly, I was impressed by the University’s international partnerships, which enables not just local, but a global impact through research and education. In addition, the Occupational Therapy (OT) programme was revamped to address current healthcare challenges, and provided opportunities for students to engage in role-emerging OT placements.


Could you tell us about your clinical placements and/or experiences applying your skills in real-life settings? 

Clinical placement has enabled me to link theories and concepts learnt in the classroom to the real practice setting. In my first year, I was attached to an acquired brain injury unit within community rehabilitation. Next, I was posted to a secure mental health unit in my second year. Another placement was in an acute hospital, with the burns and plastics unit. Not only was I able to apply occupational therapy in a range of different disciplines, I was also able to practice it holistically to meet the needs of my patients. The different settings allowed me to collaborate with a multi-disciplinary team. In my final year placement, I took on a role emerging placement to develop the role of occupational therapy within primary care. This opportunity developed my confidence to work independently as an occupational therapist upon graduation.


What is Southampton like as a place to study?

Southampton is a vibrant city, rich in its history, arts and culture. The bustling city centre has a wide range of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants to hang out with friends. Those who are new to Southampton and would like to discover the city’s heritage, could also find out more about the links between the city and Titanic at the SeaCity Museum situated at the city centre. For art and music lovers, students can enjoy plays and musicals from the Mayflower Theatre, or Nuffield Southampton Theatres, situated right at the heart of the University campus. The University is also right next to Southampton Common, a green space to rest and relax in nature. Travelling is also convenient in Southampton, as the city is well connected by train and coach, and has its own airport.

Have there been any modules that you’ve particularly enjoyed?

In my first year, the 'Personal and Professional Development' module encouraged us to immerse ourselves in a variety of occupations related to creative, outdoor and practical activities. Not only was I able to engage in new activities and societies in Southampton, but it also made me appreciate the impact of occupation on health and well-being. Through the 'Therapeutic Engagements and Partnerships in OT' module, I worked with a charity for close to a year, which helped develop my skills in building rapport with service users and understanding the role OT can play in the community. In the 'Design for Occupation' module, we were introduced to a variety of therapeutic interventions and settings. For instance, pet, equine and music therapy, and a visit to Sir Harold Hillier Gardens at Romsey to appreciate sensory-related approaches.

Do you participate in any extra-curricular activities (such as clubs, societies)? If you have, what skills have you acquired?

As I wanted to explore the country side, I joined the Hillwalking society. We would go on day trips on Saturdays to areas in Hampshire. Not only did I enjoy the beautiful natural sights, but I also got to know people from different faculties and different parts of the world. This year I have also joined the Pottery society, which provides a good creative outlet for the week. Both societies have helped me to appreciate the value in different occupations, and in building relationships with people. Even though I am studying abroad, the events and friends from both the Singapore and Indonesian Society always reminds me that home isn’t too far away.

Could you tell us about your clinical placements and/or experiences applying your skills in real-life settings?

Clinical placement has enabled me to link theories and concepts learnt in the classroom to the real practice setting. In my first year, I was attached to an acquired brain injury (ABI) unit. My supervisor and OT team made sure that I was given every opportunity to learn how OT impacts recovery and community rehabilitation. In addition, Nursing, Physiotherapy, and Speech and Language Therapy, took time to demonstrate their role in ABI rehabilitation and the importance of working collaboratively as a multi-disciplinary team. Through the continued reflection and communication with the team, I could see myself developing as a professional.

At this stage of your studies, what advice would you give to a student starting their undergraduate study at Southampton?

Undergraduate years are the time to explore and make the most of the opportunities provided by the University. It’s a time to step out of your comfort zone to try new experiences, make new friends, and immerse yourself in the areas of your studies that you are passionate about.

What elements of your degree have you enjoyed the most so far?

What I enjoyed most was gaining knowledge of health and OT, making new friends, and being on a journey of self-discovery. The School and practice educators always inspired and supported us through the course, building our confidence and skills. Course mates have not only become friends but also motivators to learn from one another. The course encourages reflection through personal and professional experiences.

How did your course at Southampton prepare you for your future career? 

The academic courses and placement have helped developed my clinical skills and reasoning. It provided a safe platform for me to build my confidence as a future therapist, offering practice experience to apply what I have learnt. In addition, the exposure to research is essential in keeping up to date with best practices to continue our professional development. This has also expanded my professional networks, through meeting future colleagues in the Occupational Therapy Show and Royal College of Occupational Therapy, to discuss key issues in our field of work. The group working and multi-disciplinary work has enabled me to learn how to work collaboratively as a team. Communication is essential in therapeutic work and the course has prepared us by developing our skills in therapeutic engagement. As occupational therapists, we also need to think out of the box and the course has challenged us, expanding the current frame of practice in the complex therapeutic engagement module, to consider new issues and solutions. Finally, we have been inspired through the programme to constantly think about the value of occupational therapy, which we can offer to people we care for.

Tell us about the next steps in your OT career.

After completing the programme I will be returning to Singapore as an Occupational Therapist in the local hospital. I am excited to share the best practices and value of Occupational Therapy within my community. I hope to continue sharing my passion about the profession with the people I support, and enable them to live life to their fullest.

Life as an OT Student

Find out more about the typical day of an Occupational Therapy student at the University of Southampton

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