How did I end up going to Prague?
I’d done my Erasmus on spring 2017 and came back with a slight post-erasmus depression. I was graving for more adventures and not ready to stop exploring the world. EFPSA’s internship offer came to my way and without thinking much more, I decided to apply, because why not? I wouldn’t lose a thing. Things got serious when I started to create my CV and application form and I got excited about the thought to have a possibility for a short internship abroad.
Prague and Person Center had good websites to give information what to expect form their center. Exploring Prague as a city from web, which I never had visited before, got me curious. Having some experience in the field of psychology before the actual graduation would be a huge opportunity to have, especially because it is not really possible there where I come from, in Finland.
Application process got a lot of time (with writing an application, motivation letter and translating my CV into English), but was very easy and quick otherwise, especially with EFPSA. I got to have in contact with the head of Person Center before getting there. For me the easiest thing was to be able to hope for the time and duration I could spend doing my internship there, because the Person Center didn’t really have on that time any specific duration or months when they wished for to have an internee. So having my short internship during the summer, between my studies, was just perfect.
The original plan was to spend 3 months in the Center, but before getting to Prague and Czech something came up in my life and I realized it wouldn’t be possible at the time. Thanks to the Person Center for being so adaptive and asking me to come over for shorter time. Finally I spent there 5 weeks during the summer 2018.
What were my duties?
In the Center, I got to attend to several individual therapy sessions which were held in English and had the client’s approval and will to do so, of course. I also attended to group therapy sessions to have a glimpse of how they were like. Person Center is a center which focus is on Carl Roger’s Person Centered Approach, so getting to know the approach by having talks with the head, Willi Rös and by reading about Roger’s theory were also part of the internship.
I promoted therapy group on facebook, edited and created media for Person Center’s social media account, contacted other institutes to promote the Center and took care of other small duties of the Center. I was the only internee when I started there, but few weeks later I got to meet a new internee from Hungary and we organized together a workshop about time management. Creating the workshop, promoting it in Prague for students and holding it were new things for me, and challenged me in a good way.
Being as an internee in Person Center was very chill. I had opportunity to be creative and improve my own skills, they were very open for all suggestions and ideas, so if I wanted to do something or organize a workshop I could do so. Person Center offered also child therapy and play therapy, but attending there was not possible unfortunately. Likewise, I got to meet some other therapists in Prague and attended to their meeting as a secretary, which was also very opening experience. Learning about Czech’s administration in the field of therapy was interesting, because every country I guess has some own features.
Why to go for an internship abroad?
Challenge yourself. It is how you can improve yourself as a person and as a psychologist or therapist. I got to see how things are done in other environment which is not on my own comfort zone and I learned new things for my studies and for myself, who I want to be as a psychologist. After the internship I had a feeling that I had found more motivation for my studies, which were a bit lost after the previous Erasmus experience. Studying psychology, the field that really excites me and seeing it in practice was really helpful in many ways. I got to meet a lot of new people, lived in Prague for 5 weeks in an apartment full of international people around my age, and got to know how they had ended up abroad. Prague as a city was very easy to explore and good to visit during the summer. There was punch of Erasmus internship people also during the summer and I got to know few of them with who we had fun moments after work.
Short internship can be a short break from the ordinary study life and is a lot different compared to Erasmus experience. It challenges you not as a student but as a becoming professional. It helps you to start thinking who you are and who you want to become as a professional, and what interests you the most. Internship gets you to totally new situations and new experiences, places you would never probably get to know without being as an internee abroad. And the best thing is, when you learn about your field of studies, you learn about yourself, and have an opportunity to start to develop your own occupational identity. And on free time you have new, exciting city around you and can have a bit of your exchange life back.
Go for it with an open mind. There’s no reason to be afraid, I was also and don’t regret for having it.
Masters Student of Psychology, University of Eastern Finland
European Federation of Psychology Student’s Associations;
Study and Travel Abroad -Team