‘Social’ networking

UND students in the Department of Social Work find excitement and a culture of caring while conducting fieldwork in Malmö, Sweden.

UND Social Work faculty members Melanie Sage, Dheeshana Jayasundara, Department Chair Carenlee Barkdull, Social Works students Bridget Hill and Bailey Kitko, and faculty member Bruce Reeves all take part in an orientation session to prepare Hill and Kitko for fieldwork opportunity in Sweden.

UND Social Work faculty members Melanie Sage, Dheeshana Jayasundara, Department Chair Carenlee Barkdull, Social Works students Bridget Hill and Bailey Kitko, and faculty member Bruce Reeves all take part in an orientation session to prepare Hill and Kitko for fieldwork opportunity in Sweden.

It isn’t often that a student travels more than 4,000 miles to complete an internship, but that’s exactly what University of North Dakota students Bailey Kitko and Bridget Hill have done.

But before they left, Kitko and Hill had to make sure they were ready. On a warm summer day, they made their way to the Kenneth Dawes Conference Room in Gillette Hall at UND to meet with several professors and advisors for an official orientation to their study abroad block field Internship in Malmö, Sweden.

Bailey Kitko (left) and Bridget Hill, Social Work students at UND, listen to Bruce Reeves (at podium), a UND Social Work faculty member, and Melissa Gjellstad (on screen from Norway), UND associate professor of Norwegian, discuss life in Scandinavia during an orientation session in preparation for Kitko and Hill's internship in Sweden.

Bailey Kitko (left) and Bridget Hill, Social Work students at UND, listen to Bruce Reeves (at podium), a UND Social Work faculty member, and Melissa Gjellstad (on screen from Norway), UND associate professor of Norwegian, discuss life in Scandinavia during an orientation session in preparation for Kitko and Hill’s internship in Sweden.

“(Orientation) was helpful, but honestly, I was prepared for whatever obstacles came my way,” Kitko said. “Excitement of a new place to call ‘home’ — at least for a while — can do wonders for one’s perspective and optimism.”

Joining the orientation team remotely from Norway, Melissa Gjellstad, UND Associate Professor of Norwegian, helped answer many of Kitko and Hill’s questions about living and working in Sweden. The orientation covered everything from safety and comportment, to money and sightseeing to practical preparations to combating fatigue and homesickness.

Emily Dougherty, UND Education Abroad program manager, presented the students with tips and resources to help make their stay in Malmö successful and safe.

Additional advice was offered from faculty members Bret Weber and Jayasundara, whose travels to Malmö and previous field experiences provided direction and helpful hints for managing the adventure ahead.

Kitko and Hill with a group of friends seaside in Osterlen, a tiny fishing village in Sweden.

Kitko and Hill with a group of friends seaside in Osterlen, a tiny fishing village in Sweden.