Sarah Tan | Student | Master of Applied Positive Psychology

Sarah is an international student studying a Master of Applied Positive Psychology and living in Malaysia. Sarah – who has also completed a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master's in Education – is incredibly passionate about bringing wellness psychology to schools in Malaysia: "I dream of raising generations of mentally healthy students through education in Malaysia." Sarah is also a Student Ambassador for the Education Ambassador Program and works as the Director of Wellbeing at a school.

Q: Can you please briefly outline your life prior to studying this program?

I completed my high school in Sekolah Sri Nobel (currently known as Nobel International School), Malaysia. I went on to Taylor’s College Sri Hartamas, Malaysia for my South Australian Matriculation. From there, I pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the University of Melbourne. After my undergraduate degree, I went to London to do my Master in Education at the University College London. This is my second Master’s degree.

Q: Why did you choose to study at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education?

I got to know Professor Lea Waters from my undergraduate studies in positive psychology at the University. I bumped into her at a conference in 2019 and shared with her my vision for education in Malaysia. She encouraged me to take up the Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) to broaden my skill set and solidify my academic qualifications.

Q: Why did you choose to study your program?

I wanted to learn more about positive psychology and understand how I could practically apply it to education, and more specifically to schools in Malaysia. I dream of raising generations of mentally healthy students through education in Malaysia.

Q: Are you enjoying studying at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education?

Very much. I love every bit of my course and the lecturers have been nothing short of fantastic. We get a variety of guest speakers who share their experiences and interests with us. My favourite subject has been Positive Psychology and Organisations. I was personally terrified of the subject initially, but Dr Gavin Slemp and Jacqui Francis were both fabulous!

Q: What's the most valuable or rewarding aspect of your program?

I think it’s the knowledge that you gain through hearing from so many experts in the field of positive psychology. In this course, you have the opportunity to pursue your interests in depth (which is great!). I’m really passionate about wellbeing in schools, and the MAPP has allowed me to do plenty of research about it.

Q: Is there anything you wish you’d known before starting the course?

To do well, you need to dedicate a significant amount of time to the course. We are assigned plenty of readings before the intensives and you really want to give yourself the opportunity to submerge yourselves in those readings.

Q: Are you involved in any extra-curricular activities?

We’re in the midst of a pandemic now, so no. But when I was an undergrad here at the University of Melbourne, I was involved in numerous clubs and societies like the Youth Charity Society (YCS), Student Appeal Team and a few others.

Q: How do you hope your course will help your career progression?

I’m hoping that this course will equip me to introduce wellbeing to schools in Malaysia. Wellbeing is not a common topic of interest here, but I am very passionate about it and believe that schools can play a greater role in supporting the wellbeing of teachers and students.

Q: What do you hope is the next step in your life/career

For my Capstone subject, I am currently developing a guide for a school in Malaysia to introduce and embed wellbeing at the heart of the school. I hope that I can take it to the school next year! In the future, I also hope to start my own wellbeing company in Malaysia.

Q: What advice would you give someone thinking about starting your course?

Do it! It is the best gift you can give yourself. Learning about wellbeing and then learning about how to practically apply it to your life and your context will enrich your life!

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