Global Studies in Counseling and Research: South Korea Initiative

September 8, 2014

Korea GroupThe 2014 summer graduate study abroad program was implemented in Korea from May 6-14. In conjunction with graduate students in Korea University, six masters and doctoral program students in Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology participated in the jointly designed graduate-level course: COUN7970 Special Topics: Global Studies in Counseling and Research. The purpose of this program is to enable participants to expand their international perspectives on critical counseling and educational issues and to enhance cross-cultural research competencies in a graduate course.

Educational experiences provided in the program included seminars, lectures, research, field experiences, and guided educational and cultural tours. The course required participation in eight sessions of two-hour pre-departure research meetings during the 2014 spring semester, nine days of international travel to Korea, and post-trip research meetings needed to complete the research manuscripts. Drs. Suhyun Suh and Randolph Pipes co-directed the course in collaboration with Dr. Sang Min Lee of Korea University, who served as the primary instructor for classes taught on KU’s campus. This year’s participants were Dedrick Ford (Clinical Mental Health), Kelly Sarah Hughes (Counseling Psychology), Kevin Johnston (School Counseling), Stephanie Denise Carroll (Counselor Education & Supervision), Van Cleve Orum Jr. (Clinical Mental Health), and Weston Blake Sandusky (Counselor Education & Supervision)

Dedrick Ford was particularly excited about the blend of academic, social, and cultural opportunities afforded by the trip.

“This experience presented me the unique opportunity to establish new friendships, study culture, and learn the rich history behind the country,” he said. “The mix of site visits and class time really made the history and culture come alive. More importantly, it gave me a renewed sense of enthusiasm to learn and experience life outside of myself. I learned so much throughout my time in Korea, and I would strongly urge anyone who is interested to consider partaking in this awesome opportunity.”

Weston Blake Sandusky was similarly excited about the opportunities to expand his cultural understanding.

“This trip has been one of the most eye-opening experiences I have ever had,” he said. “I learned so much about how culture influences us as people and influences counseling. On this trip you are able to learn so much about another culture and to engage with students to discuss counseling from different perspectives. I would recommend this experience to anyone!”

Kelly Sarah Hughes also suggested that the cross-cultural counseling discussions made the trip worthwhile.

“The Korea program offers a rare opportunity to interact with students of a different culture and learn more about counseling,” she said. “It is not every day that you can visit another country and ask others about their perspective on a range of issues—particularly about their knowledge and experience surrounding your area of study. The Korea program not only increased my cultural awareness, but helped me to understand the construct of counseling in a different light. I highly encourage my peers to take advantage of this program!”

To learn more about the Korean initiative, contact Professors Pipes or Suh in the College of Education.

Story by George Littleton. Photo, contributed.