I-CUREUS participant Betül Alaca, a third-year Psychology student, shares about her experience with the Kids in Places Initiative, associated with the Child Studies department.

Daycare-aged children building a cardboard cityI completed my I-CUREUS internship with The Kids in Places Initiative. As a research assistant, I was specifically involved in a cultural exchange between children in Canada and Italy, which aims to understand the meaning of community through the eyes of children.

I met with participating elementary schools and daycare centres in Ottawa to speak to teachers and early childhood educators about how the cultural exchange will proceed. I kept regular contact with them to guide them through the beginning stages of the project. Before collecting any data, an ethics proposal had to be completed. Using knowledge that I gained from my third year Psychology seminar, I helped to complete an ethics submission for the project. Upon approval, I began collecting data at the daycare centres and schools. I spent some time with the participating children and collected their drawings and recordings of their descriptions.

A classroom in the Kids in Places Initiative where teachers are introducing an activity to several children

My internship allowed me to learn valuable skills in conducting qualitative research. Furthermore, I will continue to learn techniques to analyze children’s drawings at a workshop that I will be attending at Dalhousie University in May 2014. I will also be presenting a poster about the cultural exchange at the Development 2014 Conference at Carleton University.

I highly recommend the I-CUREUS internship program to others. It allows you to connect with professors, other students, and community members. The internship opens doors to many more opportunities, and allows you to make use of theoretical knowledge attained in a classroom setting. Most importantly, be confident in your abilities to take on novel tasks during your time as an intern!

Betül Alaca