Marcus Jung, PSYC 417A

Year of Study During Placement: 2nd
Placement Course and Year: PSYC 417A, 2015
Faculty and Major: LFS, Global Resource Systems
Placement Country: Uganda
Placement Organization: Salama SHIELD Foundation (SSF)

Marcus Jung participated in Psychology 417A in 2015. He was placed with the Salama SHIELD Foundation (SSF) in Uganda. He worked within the organization’s micro-finance section and applied his psychology coursework in several interesting ways. Marcus conducted field visits and met with the women who received the micro-loans to gain a better understanding of the challenges they faced due to economic situation and gender dynamics. Specifically, Marcus focused on documenting the relationships of these women with their husbands and how their newfound economic contributions may influence these relationships.

After returning from Uganda, Marcus switched from the Faculty of Science to the Faculty of Land and Food Systems. But the work he completed in Uganda has helped him to find common themes throughout his degree. Marcus’s work inspired him to look for the human connection in larger issues – whether it’s poverty, climate change, or illnesses. Understanding individuals and groups can be instrumental in addressing and exploring these issues. Using his psychology studies, Marcus integrated this individual understanding into his understanding of community, societal, and global issues. Marcus hopes to continue to do work that involves the fostering of communities that work together towards a better tomorrow.

“Social change is not as easy or as simple as it seems. It takes courage, bravery, and grit to create it.”

Marcus’s biggest challenge came in the form of questioning what is “right.” Was the work he was doing going to be sustainable? Would it contribute to social change? Ultimately, he had to reframe some of his ideas about social change. Social change, he realized, isn’t easy. It’s slow. It’s difficult. And at first, it’s often invisible. It’s not until dozens of baby steps add up that something tangible appears. But each one is of vital importance. And for those considering a similar placement, Marcus advises staying open-minded and curious, even in the face of frustration. Keep exploring and keep reflecting and you will find that your contributions are greater than you first believed them to be.