Asha Rao

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What’s your major?

  • I am pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Rehabilitation Sciences, on a Pre-Occupational Therapy track with a minor in Disability and Human Development

What are your career goals?

  • ​I plan to pursue a Masters in Occupational Therapy (MOT), and later a Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD). I hope to begin my career working in a general pediatric setting such as a hospital/clinic, and transition to a school setting to address sensory issues affecting primary and elementary students and their abilities in the classroom.

What made you choose this study abroad course?

  • I chose this program because I felt it was the best introduction I could have as to how to conduct research, as I haven’t had exposure to qualitative research methods before; I was also intrigued by the Spanish culture and what the customs/traditions are, as well as the opportunity to practice my ability to speak the language.

What are your goals for your study abroad experience?

  • My goals for this study abroad experience are to have developed my research skills, and be able to conduct successful research using visual research methods (VRM). I would also like to be able to take routines of daily life in Spain, and make them apart of my daily life when I return to the U.S.

At the end of the program, what memories do you want to take with you?

  • At the end of the program, I want to take memories of the experiences I had and the ways I changed as an individual back with me to the U.S. I hope to be able to share with others how I’ve been able to develop as a person more professionally and culturally; I also would like to share stories of how I was able to communicate with locals and develop relationships with them.

What are your hobbies and interests?

  • I love to travel, cook, volunteer, and do henna tattoos for others; my hobbies include playing tennis, writing stories, and working on art projects when I have the time. If it would be possible, I would like to eventually tour all of South Asia in one trip with my family, and then Europe, specifically Greece and Italy.

What is a fun fact not many people know about you?

  • A fun fact not many people know about me is that I collect Starbucks Coffee mugs with the name of the place I’m visiting on the front and depictions of places the city or country is known for. I have almost 40 so far. I also suggest if it’s possible to friends and family if they’d like to bring me a souvenir from a vacation, bring a mug so I can have something to remind myself of them.

What is the title of your project?

  • “How Language Represents Disability: A Comparative Analysis across Chicago, Barcelona and India (Working Title)

What do you think you will be doing in Barcelona (research-wise)?

  • I will be collecting photography, speaking with experts in disability related professions to develop an understanding of how disability is spoken about in Barcelona, and reading biographies and autobiographies from each culture to develop of a foundation of disability language in each culture to compare later on.

What is the outcome of your work?

The outcome of my work will be an increase in awareness of how the way we speak about disability directly impacts the way society perceives disabilities. I hope my research will be able to identify what factors in each culture affects how disability is spoken about and why.