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Masters Counseling Psychology, Korean Woman

April 7, 2013

As a girl growing up in Korea, I had little choice but to embrace the ideals of my family and accept the destiny that they had set for me: to become a doctor. As I have had a chance to mature, however, especially here in America, as a woman, I have chosen to excel in psychology and counseling is the field that I have chosen to pursue, because I am now following my heart.

I feel strongly that my diverse undergraduate studies have provided me with an excellent foundation for graduate study in counseling psychology. I now live in XXXX, Canada, and I am fascinated by the way that my own identity has been transformed as a result of leaving the little town where I grew up in South Korea and immigrating here, becoming part of a vast, multicultural society. My own immigrant experience has caused me to identify with other people of color, and I wish to devote my professional life to studying the psychology of the immigrant experience. I want to become a recognized expert with respect to the mental health of those Canadians who were born somewhere else; and, thus, face critically important and often difficult adjustments to their new society.

 By the time that I had started college, I had begun to realize that the dream of being a doctor was not my own, but, rather a dream that was embedded in my family. Ever since I can remember I was always told that I needed to become a doctor in order to be successful in life, and after several years of being away from my family, the last thing I wanted to do was disappoint them. Nevertheless, by my 3rd year at the University of XXXX, I had found my area of greatest interest and intrigue: psychology. Thus, I switched my major from Health Sciences to Psychology. I want to always advise others to follow their heart and chase their dream.

I am especially interested in doing research on a graduate level into the ways that culture and social context affect body image and eating disorders. In fact, I am certain that I want to make the complete range of and bodily dysmorphic disorders part of my area of specialization. I also yearn for an in depth exploration of the impact of culture on stress; most of all, I want to master the literature concerning the role of counseling psychology in helping immigrants to develop and implement successful coping strategies for the stress associated with cultural assimilation, especially with respect to one’s career, education, and health. The third and complimentary area which I want to study in depth is the literature concerning counseling and minority groups in general, learning how to maximize that delicate balance of mental wellness and physical wellness for people of color. Of course, as a Korean woman, I will also be especially pleased to incorporate Eastern philosophies into my research, perhaps striving for creative syntheses between Western and Eastern paradigms in theoretical analyses dealing with the challenges faced by the counseling profession in various cultural milieu.

My undergraduate courses in psychology, particularly doing research, changed my understanding of education, and, subsequently, the course of my life. My foremost professional role model is Dr. XXXX. I so thoroughly enjoyed her class in advanced psychology that ever since then I have searched for ways to become involved in research, as well as working as a research assistant for Dr. XXXX at the Culture and the Workplace Lab. By conducting both lab and field studies, I have gained extensive knowledge in research methods, design, data analysis and interpretation. These experiences helped immensely to prepare me for my writing my honours thesis, a project on which I am currently engaged.

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