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College of Social Work

Student Spotlight - Anaida Malkhasian

Nov. 12, 2018
By Chris Woodley,

Anaida Malkhasian’s hometown of Ulan-Ude, Russia is 6,480 miles from the University of South Carolina campus. Interestingly, after earning her undergraduate degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from her hometown institution, Buryat State University, it was not Malkhasian who chose UofSC but another organization that brought her to the Palmetto State.

How did you learn about the UofSC College of Social Work and why did you decide to attend here for your Master of Social Work?

To be honest, it was not my decision at all. Back in Russia I received a Fulbright scholarship, and according to their requirements, they select a student’s university. I received the letter that I was accepted at UofSC last year in the middle of May, and here I am. Anyway, I liked their decision and never regretted it.

What class has had the most impact on your social work studies?

Judging by the foundation year, I think Diversity, Human Behavior in Social Environment and Social Work Policy gave me profound knowledge that impacted me as a person and future social worker. I really enjoyed every class because it gave me an understanding of social context and how it impacts different groups of people. It also helped me to learn social work and to an extent, American history. Being in such a diverse country, I’ve gained a lot from the Diversity class, which has changed my views on certain things.

What do you enjoy most about field education?

My first placement was in the Richland County Public Defender’s office, and now I am in Richland Lexington School District 5 (elementary school). My current internship is interesting and full of learning opportunities. I like working with children and realized that this setting is perfect for me. I hope to practice as many skills as I can and get the full experience. Right now, I am doing some paperwork and work with a group of elementary school children at their after-school program, Club 180, and preparing to run groups on social skills, truancy and mindfulness. I am also interested in children with disabilities and willing to be a part of an individualized education program to gain some experience and knowledge that I can apply later back in my country.

How has the College of Social Work faculty and staff helped you overcome any challenges to help you best succeed?

I would like to thank every professor that I’ve had. They are all very competent in their fields of study, were willing to help if I needed it and their classes gave me a basic understanding of social work practice. Moreover, my academic advisor Ms. Mosetta Ragin is very helpful and knowledgeable.

What advice or recommendations would you give prospective international students who might be considering studying social work at UofSC?

I would suggest that those who are planning to study at UofSC to not hesitate and apply. But if there are some uncertainties, the faculty and staff is very responsive and willing to give advice and necessary information. Columbia is also a nice and safe town to live and study with beautiful weather in the winter.

What is your favorite spot on the UofSC campus and why?

I think my favorite spot is the fountain near the Thomas Copper library. I find water very calming and relaxing. It is kind of my self-care that makes me feel better at the end of the day.

How do you plan to use your social work degree once your graduate?

I would like to get my post-academic training here in the U.S. for one year and then go back home. Even though the social work field in Russia is a little different from the U.S., I am 100 percent sure about the population that I want to work with: children and their families in educational settings.

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