Illinois State’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) offers graduate and undergraduate students the opportunity to travel abroad.
This past December, speech language pathology graduate students Nicole Pacente (first year) and Michaela Powers (second year) traveled to Seoul, South Korea, with Associate Professor Heidi Harbers for eight days.
They worked with clinicians in South Korea and were able to provide accent modification therapy to adults in their 20s who were learning English. More specifically, they worked on their pronunciation skills. Pacente said she was most challenged by the prospect of providing a type of therapy she had never done before and working with adults because she had not had any adult clients before this trip.
“After I saw the first patient, all my nervousness went away,” Pacente said. “They were such amazing people and had amazing stories for the reasons they were learning English. They were incredibly inspiring. They were motivated to be there, so it made me less nervous.”
There were many other things that were interesting and new to Pacente on this trip. She was surprised to see how different cultures work and how things are done differently in different parts of the world. She was most surprised by her observation of a therapy session with an Illinois State alumnus. She said it was very enlightening to watch a therapy session in a different language and still be able to understand what was being said and done by the therapist’s intonation, gestures, etc.
Pacente encourages students to take advantage of a study abroad opportunity while you can. To her, the study abroad experience with CSD was unique and unmatched.
Incorporating CSD into study abroad is something that is special to this department. The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders will be taking students from Illinois State as well as University of Wisconsin-Whitewater to Australia and New Zealand this May for 12 days. Students will get the chance to visit the University of Sydney and learn about its speech language pathology program. Given her unique experience with Seoul, Pacente will be heading to Australia and New Zealand as well.