Master’s level counselors-in-training at Northeastern State University-Broken Arrow partook a journey to Ireland this spring to learn about diverse cultures and gained existential knowledge about themselves as well.
“Studying abroad offers counselors-in-training an extraordinary opportunity to embark upon an existential journey to the self,” said Dr. Elizabeth Keller-Dupree, assistant professor and program chair for the school counseling master’s program at NSUBA. “Through journaling, introspective reflection, and individual/group dialogues, students will be offered a learning experience unlike most others.”
Aptly named, ‘An Existential Tour of Ireland’, the class seeks to invite counseling graduate students to encounter personal and professional growth while studying abroad in Belfast, Ireland.
“The purpose of this study abroad for our graduate counseling students was to prepare our future counselors to be multi-culturally competent,” said Dr. Richard Williams, associate professor of psychology and counseling.
Taken out of their day-to-day environment, some students have developed a newfound respect for current and future clients duet to the vulnerability people inevitably feel when they come to counseling.
“There were times during my trip that I felt very out of place, out of my comfort zone,” said Amy Bookout, grad student at NSUBA. “In a way, counseling is similar to this experience because clients experience a sense of vulnerability when they are asked to expose their innermost being to a counselor.”
Keller-Dupree said personal values and personal goals are main topics for discussion as the students trailed through Ireland. Using this rare time to evaluate their professional development, the students learned to perceive counseling scenarios from a more personal angle.
“This trip will made an impact on my education by letting me learn more about myself, how I encounter and interact with others,” said Megan Little, grad student at NSUBA. “We are doing more than just reading what a counselor is supposed to be in a book; we are actually practicing and finding our own style and techniques.”
Keller-Dupree said that qualitative research shows that traveling abroad will lead the students to becoming more open to experiences.
“We as Americans take so much for granted and forget to show how grateful we are to even be an American. This experience has opened my eyes to see how grateful I am to be an American and how easy life is here,“ said Christen Selsor, grad student at NSUBA. “Not that we don’t have problems or our share of heartaches, but we are not living in wars and fearful of our lives or fearful of how we choose to serve our God. It is these kinds of things we as Americans take for granted.”
For more information on the master’s counseling program call Dr. Keller-Dupree at 918-449-6534.
Published: 4/24/2012 11:18:15 AM