Summer study in 'land: Fin and Eng

Bryan Kanney and Carissa Benchwick, students in the Student Affairs Counseling program at Youngstown State University, are completing internships in Finland and England this summer.

Kanney is working in the International Office at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, while Benchwick is working as a resident/programming assistant at LEB Education in London.

In Finland, Kanney is developing free time activities for students in the university’s Summer School in Human Sciences program, training student tutors on the expectations/needs of American students, American culture, and American higher education systems, and creating an orientation for Finns preparing to study in the United States. He also is providing consultation to university recruiting coordinators for the purpose of enhancing enrollment of U.S. students to master-level programs.

Kanney said language has been a particular challenge. “Because there are three more letters in the Finnish alphabet than there are in the English alphabet, keyboards look quite different,” he said, and added: “This internship has provided me an opportunity to live and work as an international student, to exist outside my comfort zone, and to experience what being an international student feels like; this includes managing transitions, challenges, and learning curves that accompany the process.”

This is not Benchwick’s first time to intern in London.

“I would have to say that the most beneficial aspect to my experience would be the aspect of self-growth and identity exploration,” she said. “Being abroad challenges you. At times you will feel uncomfortable, but in graduate school they always said, ‘Become comfortable being uncomfortable.’ I gained insight on what I want in life and what I need to work on. I would advise this internship to anyone who is adventurous and up for a challenge - you will absolutely become a stronger, more well-rounded individual and young student affairs professional.”

Jake Protivnak, professor and chair of Counseling, School Psychology and Educational Leadership, said most students in the Counseling program complete internships locally. “So this is a unique opportunity for these two students,” he said.

For more information on the master’s program in Counseling, visit this website.