In the fall of 2009 I moved from Singapore and started as a freshman at UW Bothell and graduated with an IAS degree, majoring in Community Psychology and Global Studies. I will be starting my Master’s Program, Master in Education, in the Netherlands this fall. I am currently working as a student care teacher at a center for before and after school programs for elementary school children in Singapore. Here, I have had an opportunity to work with children who have learning difficulties and also children who have been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD, dyslexia and dyscalculia.
In Singapore, the diagnoses, acceptance and understanding of children with learning difficulties has only recently begun – being ignored or unaccepted for many years. Also, the education system in Singapore is highly focused on academic performance and at the centre where I work, the aim is to assist those who need extra help academically. This is done through preventive creative programs such as art classes, cooking courses, creative writing and dancing classes that I have had the opportunity to help plan and organize - moving beyond the norm of Singapore education.
The passion for and understanding of educational concepts as well as prevention programs began during the academic exploration and understanding of Community Psychology at UW Bothell. I had the privilege to take part in an undergraduate research project, together with a group of seniors at UW Bothell, for a non-profit organization, Tostan, focusing on human rights education. The two quarters I spent on this project served as the reason for such a large portion of knowledge required in my current job, as well as being the starter for my passion towards education.
Furthermore, during my time at UW Bothell I was involved with Student Life, working for the Campus Events Board as well as being part of clubs and organizations on campus – another way I explored concepts of education during my time there but also a way that helped me adjust and be involved with the UWB culture. I can definitely and confidently say that UW Bothell – academically and through social involvement – has led me to the career path I am on today.