Phyu Phyu Zaw (D1)

Division of Development Science, Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation (IDEC)

Host Organization: University of California, San Diego
Country of Internship: United States of America (U・S・A)
Period of Internship: January 10, 2020 to March 10, 2020
*Run-up program

1. About  my internship

Hello, everyone! My name is Phyu Phyu Zaw, and I am a doctoral student from IDEC. And it was my second chance to join the G.ecbo program following my first internship in Florida State University back in 2017. With the support of the G.ecbo Follow-up Research Internship program, from January to March 2020, I got a wonderful chance to join two programs namely, the eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) five-day Intensive courses at the UCSD Center for Mindfulness (CFM), in University of California, San Diego, United States. The nine-week-long training trip was an insightful period not only as a doctoral student with my research focus on mindfulness but also as an individual gaining a delightful experience for cultivating mindfulness and changing the relationship with my own emotions for my entire life.

2. About my internship course

MBSR was an eight-week long program led by the two instructors – Cheryl Shah and Helen Davis, who are certified MBSR teachers of CFM. The program focuses on cultivating a different relationship between the participant and stressors in his or her daily life and counts completely upon the tools he or she already possesses. The program includes a variety of mindfulness meditation and yoga practices. Specifically, mindfulness helps the participants to gain access to the ability to be non-judgmental, compassionate, patient, present and aware. Mindfulness of breathing, sensations, sounds, thoughts and emotions, and finally mindfulness of choiceless awareness were explored in every class, bringing awareness to moments of reacting and exploring options for responding with greater mindfulness, spaciousness, and creativity, in formal meditation practice and in everyday life.

Another program that I joined during my internship period was the MSC program. it is a five-day intensive program led by the two instructors – Noriko Morita Harth, who is the managing director of the UCSD Center for Mindfulness, and Megan Prager, a Compassion Programs director. In this program, altogether twenty-seven practices of mindful self-compassion were taught in detail, didactically and experientially. The instructors mainly emphasized the three components of self-compassion: mindfulness (noticing our own suffering without over-identifying with a story around it), our common humanity (remembering the universality of suffering - not to diminish our own suffering but to remember there is nothing wrong with us for having a hard time and remembering we are not alone in our struggles) and self-kindness (treating ourselves kindly with that in mind - that is, treating ourselves at least as kindly as we would treat any other person who is having a hard time).

3. Expectations on my internship for the future carrier

After coming back from the internship, I joined online teaching training programs of MBSR and MSC until I got the authorization to teach these programs by myself as a teacher in training. I conducted two MBSR and one MSC programs in Myanmar language for the purpose of my doctoral research. And, currently, I am writing for those academic research papers Additionally, I am still delivering the MBSR programs in Myanmar language online for free every week without academic research purpose. I will try my best to utilize the knowledge and skills acquired through this internship in the best possible way for myself and the society in the future too.

4. Others

I do appreciate this internship as a life-changing turning point of my life. The research follow-up internship opportunity that I had with the UCSD Center for Mindfulness was a very wonderful experience of my life. I feel very grateful to the G.ecbo Internship Program for giving me this great opportunity. Therefore, I would like to express my deepest gratitude and special thanks to the G.ecbo/i-ECBO office of Hiroshima University for their kind support throughout my internship period.