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Two Graduate Student Interns Complete their Summer Internship at AUK

Two graduate student interns concluded their internships within different AUK Student affairs and student services departments this past summer. Tabetha Maly and Benoit Sabourin joined AUK late last May as part of the Student Affairs/Student Services Graduate Internship program designed to provide graduate students and recent graduates the opportunity to gain essential experiences within professional areas of Student Affairs/Student Services.

The two graduate students stayed in Kuwait for nearly 8 weeks, where they gained hands-on experience at the AUK Academic Advising & Learning Support Service (AALSS), Counseling Center, Office of Student Life, and Office of the Registrar.

Tabetha is a graduate student and an assistant residence hall director at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. Through her work with AALSS, Tabetha got the opportunity to learn firsthand how academic advising supports student transitions and how it cooperates closely with other academic support units to provide a holistic support service for AUK students.

Through her day-to-day interactions, Tabetha developed a thorough understanding of the impact of local context on university structure and, more specifically, on the policies and procedures of academic support units.

At the AUK Counseling Center, Tabetha gained a working knowledge of general office programs and services, and specifically of disability processes including similarities and differences between services in a US-based institution versus one abroad. Gaining insight to a culture that most people have not experienced was her favorite part, both professionally and personally, as it offered her an internal and external viewpoint of another part of the world. The experience provided her with insights on how higher education systems function in Kuwait, and how they managed to create a harmonious balance between the university culture and the local culture. "What I've learned most from the experience has been an insight to Kuwaiti culture. I've loved being around the people here and learning so much about the Gulf region," said Tabetha.

Benoit Sabourin came to Kuwait with a culturally diverse background; he was born in France, lived in England, and finally settled in North Carolina, where he is currently pursuing a Master's of Education in Higher Education Administration - with a focus on Student Affairs and Public Policy- at North Carolina State University.

Through his work with the Office of the Registrar, Benoit became familiar with the operations and services provided by the office, learned about office policies and procedures and the importance of these in supporting academic activities and functions. Additionally, he experienced how the Office of the Registrar interacts with the other units within academic affairs.

In his other job in the Office of Student Life, Benoit worked on improving programs through the development of methods and processes to assess program goals and reporting results. His engagement with the graduation arrangements was his favorite part because it gave him a new perspective on event operations in the Middle East and allowed him to witness the excitement and vibe of graduation events.

Benoit expressed that his internship in Kuwait allowed him to gain a new appreciation for the Muslim culture and religion and for students and student affairs abroad which will prove helpful working with international students in the future. He is very excited to hopefully come back to the region to keep exploring the culture and possible professional endeavors.

The AUK graduate internship program is designed to provide graduate students and recent graduates a deeper understanding of higher education administration, and to acquire specific skill sets which will help prepare them for a career in the profession. As the Student Affairs profession continues to grow in the Middle East and around the globe AUK is proud to offer this unique opportunity for young professionals to broaden their horizons on a personal, academic, and professional level. The first Student Affairs Graduate Interns at AUK participated in Summer 2009 and the University is pleased to build off of the success of the program in each successive year.

Benoit Sabourin

Tabetha Maly

Released by the Office of Public Affairs on the 7th October 2015

Photography by the Office of Public Affairs (C) 2015

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