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Boundless Blog

Custom Orthotics Blog

Internship Experience; From France to Canada

Guest Blogger

My name is Janyce Pinjon and I am currently working with the technical and clinical team at Boundless Biomechanical Bracing. 

I come from a small village near Lyon in the south east of France. I applied for the Prosthetics & Orthotics French program directly after high school and was fortunate enough to pass the entrance exam on my first try! I was one of the youngest in the class. After graduating from the P&O French program, I decided that I wanted to go abroad to further my expertise and discover what it would be like to work in another country.

While attending post-secondary school in France, I also volunteered for a non-governmental organization called Handicap International which helps individuals with disabilities in developing countries. With this volunteer experience, I went to Madagascar for four weeks and knew that after my experience there, I wanted to do it again. My biggest challenge would be to improve my English and become fluent.

In 2015, I attended the International Society of Prosthetics & Orthotics world congress in Lyon, France and had the chance to meet Dan Blocka. I explained my project of coming to Canada to gain a invaluable experience and once in a lifetime opportunity. He gave me that chance and after an intensive year of preparation and four mouths of administrative procedures, I flew to Canada on September 13th 2016. 

Easy enough, right??

Upon my arrival, I was faced with many challenges that were quite overwhelming. First was the time zone difference between France and Canada. Then came the American English accent. In France, we learn only British English and we have an awful level of expression. After that, I had issues with my social insurance number, the bank system and my accommodations. Despite these initial challenges, the team at Boundless Biomechanical Bracing were all very welcoming and really took the time to explain everything to me with patience and goodwill. I discovered a dynamic and tolerant team who supports the pursuit of my goals. 

In France, a clinician can work in both specialities; orthotics and prosthetics. This is the biggest difference between France and Canada. Moreover, in my country, we work alongside kinesiologists and physicians. I find the process in Canada to be less overwhelming for the patient and the atmosphere more tranquil. The clinical staff at Boundless offers real quality service and always takes the time for their patients. The technical process are much different as well. In France, we fabricate more carbon fiber devices and have a much different modification process involving scanning and software programming. As for government funding, braces in France are completely covered by the healthcare system.

It has been six months since I’ve arrived to Canada, my experience at Boundless has been very enriching; I’ve improved my technical skills, clinical abilities, and most importantly my English. I am grateful to have met such warm and friendly group of individuals. To me, they are like a second family. I especially enjoyed being introduced to their culture at Thanksgiving and Christmas! Canada now feels like home and it will be hard to leave. Once I complete my internship at Boundless, I am planning to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, travel through some awesome national parks and hopefully cross the border into the United States, where I hope to explore the east coast.

This September I will return to my home turf in France, where my family and friends are anxiously waiting already!

This experience has definitely been challenging for me but I have learned the importance of perseverance, optimism and I have gained more self-confidence. I will never forget this exchange. 

Thank you all so much!

Janyce