Wasan Alfatafta ’21, Dr. Lina Ashour’s Psychotherapy Clinic, Amman, Jordan

Protest in Amman, Jordan regarding fuel price increase

Starting in early July, I never expected my internship at a psychotherapy clinic in Amman, Jordan, to be as world-altering as it turned out to be. My internship was a 3-days a week, 8 hours a day position that expected of me various responsibilities such as silently observe and learn from therapy sessions, set up appointments, talk to clients over the phone about questions and concerns (even on off days and weekends), handle money and daily profit, and chat with families/companions of clients whenever I wasn’t permitted into a session (clients had the right to refuse my presence as part of the ethical code). Having found my internship through connections from my father’s side, I felt a great responsibility to perform as optimally as possible not only to maintain these positive connections my father had allowed me to join in on, but also because of my awareness of Skidmore College’s faith in me by providing me with the Summer Experience Fund.

In the world of Psychology, a therapist must be his/her/their own harsh critic. Psychology students hear this repeatedly in lecture rooms, but it finally rang true for me in the corners of Dr. Lina Ashour’s office, taking down notes quietly while I attempted to improve my perception of myself and of the field I am entering. I believe this internship has truly been life-changing for me as a future psychotherapist. Sitting face-to-face, being grilled by my supervisor for missing a minor detail from a therapy session or realizing an error in my framework, I finally realized just how big of a responsibility the field I am entering is, and with the flexibility, adaptability, and fortitude I’ve gained, I am all the more excited for the career I am pursuing.

I don’t think this experience could have ever been a reality for me if not for the Summer Experience Fund. My transportation expenses to and from work were fully reliant on the fund I had, and considering the type of city Amman is, I would have never pulled it off with just walking. This is why I hope future students go for it and take advantage of this beautiful, unique opportunity Skidmore College offers so many of us on a yearly basis. To me, it is a debt that can only be repaid by excelling and striving for the best at every turn.

My advice to students looking to intern in Jordan in general is this: Jordan is a country that is reliant on connections. Being born and raised here, I know how much people appreciate a confident and forward applicant. If there’s an internship you want in Jordan, simply get in contact with the person/institution in question and ask about available positions. The position may not even exist until you ask about it, at which point you’ll be the #1 candidate they want for getting them the idea of allowing interns from abroad. Be bold!

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