By Stephanie Levine (pictured below wearing black)
Hi, I am Steph Levine, the College of Business Career Advisor Intern in Career Services. In addition to working in Career Services, I am currently pursuing my master’s degree in professional counseling at UW Oshkosh. During January interim I had the opportunity to participate in a two week study abroad to Malaysia. The course, entitled Counseling, Spirituality, and Service in Malaysia, counted for a three credit elective toward my degree. Since completing my undergraduate degree, my one regret was never studying abroad. When I learned about this opportunity from my professor, Dr. Kelli Saginak, I knew it would be the perfect chance for me to gain the study abroad experience that I always felt I had missed.
Our group consisted of twelve students, our professor Dr. Kelli Saginak, and her friend and colleague, Dr. Thana Singarajah from Idaho State University’s Department of Counseling. As well as being a professor and clinical provider of mental health services, Dr. Thana is originally from Malaysia and was a great resource for us on our journey.
Our trip was split between two destinations, one week in the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, and the second week in George Town on the island of Penang. During our time, we participated in a number of service learning experiences including volunteering with toddlers and school aged children as well as children and adults with disabilities. In addition to service learning, we assisted our professor in leading three days of workshops on play therapy. The attendees, who were mental health professionals and graduate students, shared their excitement and passion for learning.
It was wonderful to see so many professionals dedicated to providing excellent care to children and adolescents, especially in a society and culture where counseling is not viewed in a very positive light. Our trip also consisted of cultural experiences, including visiting temples and mosques, attending cultural dance performances, hiking and seeing the waterfalls at Templer Park, visiting an elephant sanctuary (and riding elephants!), and making Chinese “love letters,” a wafer like fortune cookie in celebration of the Chinese New Year. To say that our days were busy is an understatement.
Overall, it was a great learning experience for me both personally and professionally. I feel I am leaving my journey with an increased sense of multicultural awareness and the desire to break down cultural and language barriers to connect with others. Based on my experience and hearing the positive experiences of friends throughout the years, I would highly encourage any student to consider studying abroad. It is a once in the life time opportunity and a great learning experience to add to your resume.
Have you completed a study abroad and are not sure how to include it on your resume? Call or stop by Career Services to schedule an appointment with a Career Advisor. We would be happy to help you showcase your learning and experience!
To learn more about what life is like abroad, check out The BIG Guide to Living and Working Overseas!