How I used my skills from SLV.Global while doing my Master's

Written by Previous SLV.Global Volunteer, Natalie

Natalie Blog

I completed a 12 week placement in Sri Lanka with SLV.Global after graduating from my undergraduate degree. On returning to the UK, I decided to pursue my interest in psychology further and applied for and was successful in getting a place to study a masters in psychology in London.

I studied while working full time and despite finding it challenging I also found that so many of the skills I had learnt during my mental health volunteering experience in Sri Lanka with SLV.Global were so relevant during my studies. I hadn’t previously studied psychology so I found that drawing from my personal experiences really invaluable to understanding difficult concepts I encountered while studying.

My time in Sri Lanka has taught me a lot of practical skills. These included the ability to communicate my ideas clearly and when working as part of a group. While on the placement in Sri Lanka all sessions were planned and organised as a group. While we discussed relevant activities and the psychological benefits of these I found myself really developing my teamwork skills, as it was vital for everyone to have their say in a way that made sure all ideas were valued and understood. During my masters I completed a number of modules that really emphasised group work, with each of us gaining a mark as a group based on how the whole team worked together.

My mental health volunteering experience also really helped me with understanding aspects of my masters that were more related to cultural differences. As I’d been based in Sri Lanka for 3 months and worked with a huge range of different individuals in a completely different culture I felt that I had a much deeper appreciation that not all individuals interpret mental health issues in the same way. In general, my time abroad really helped me in understanding that cultural differences are so important to take into account in every aspect of life. A lot of my degree really emphasised culture and the impact this can have on someone’s understanding and I felt my mental health volunteering experience abroad gave me a real and unique understanding of this.

Aurora TrentinMHV