Archive for IEM Practicum

Monday, May 15th, 2017

IEMer Heather Rahimi Excels on South Korean Practicum

Heather Rahimi MAIEM ‘17 has spent the last four months on practicum at the University of Utah Asia campus in Incheon, South Korea.  Having never set foot on the Asian continent prior to her practicum, Heather utilized takeaways from her MIIS coursework, non-verbal communication and flexibility to excel throughout her experience.

What has been the most surprising thing you have encountered on your practicum in Korea?

Seeing as it’s my first time in South Korea, let alone Asia, I have encountered many surprises. I think the biggest surprise, or at least the one that has had the biggest positive impact on me, is understanding that one doesn’t need verbal language to communicate with others. My Korean is limited to “hello”, “thank you”, and “goodbye”, so coming here inspired a certain amount of fear in me. However, I discovered so much can be said without words, especially in Korea. A simple grunt can say a million words! These days I grunt at everything, it can mean “yes”, “oh!”, “I understand”, “I’m so sorry”, you name it! So here is a word of caution to all those who see me after I return state-side, be prepared for countless grunts, warm smiles, and a little bit of pushing.

Credit: Snow College News

What has been one of the most valuable skills or takeaways from your coursework at MIIS that has helped you succeed in your practicum work?

I was pretty nervous for my first day on the job, I was certain I wouldn’t know anything and would have to constantly ask my supervisor for help. But, I quickly found out, my coursework at MIIS had taught me so much more than I thought and left me utterly, if not overly, prepared for this position. I was most grateful for the skills I learned in my Staff Management course. Even as an intern, I definitely needed to manage up, be aware of cross-cultural differences, such as communication styles, and be prepared to lead a meeting when no one else was up for the task.

How has your experience in Korea informed what you hope to do next (whether or not you know what that is at the moment)?

My practicum position at UAC has taught me many invaluable lessons and enabled me to grow as a person and a professional. As an intern, I have been able to work on a variety of projects that wouldn’t typically fall under one person’s job responsibilities. Each project has given me insight into what type of work I want to do in my future and made me realize that although I would prefer to work in education abroad, I am now also open to and enjoy working in international student and scholar services. Whereas before I only wanted to work in education abroad, I can now broaden the scope of my job search and better identify positions that I will thrive in based on my first-hand experience with job responsibilities and work environments.