My Psychology Work Experience Abroad, 5,411 Miles from Home
When I was studying for my undergraduate degree in Psychology at university a few years ago, I found out about a company called SLV.Global, who offer work experience placements for psychology students and graduates. Their psychology work experience placements involve running therapeutic activity sessions in psychiatric facilities and special needs care homes, whilst also teaching English to a range of individuals of all ages and walks of life. I was really keen to get as much psychology work experience as possible whilst studying so that I could apply for the clinical psychology doctorate and become a clinical psychologist.
I was accepted on to SLV.Global’s summer volunteering team in Sri Lanka and I was really excited, however I was nervous at the prospect of doing my work experience so far away from home: 5,411 miles away from home, to be exact. I hadn’t really travelled before and I anticipated that some of the projects I would be working on would be quite challenging, so I assumed I might need some moral support from back home.
When I arrived in Sri Lanka on the first day of the placement, I was really reassured to see how big the team there was: there about 70 other volunteers and a big team of peer mentors, supervisors and projects managers. Throughout my placement, the management team was available 24/7 to help with any problems we were having, which really helped to make me feel supported and less far away from home. I was also pleased to learn that mobile data phone packages were really cheap to purchase in Sri Lanka, so I could communicate with friends and family back at home and tell them what I was up to. There were also lots of internet cafes near to my homestay if I wanted to sit at a computer and chat to anyone for longer.
Initially, I was concerned about completing psychology work experience so far away from home when there are similar opportunities in my own country. However, choosing to volunteer abroad was fantastic because I was able to throw myself into a completely new culture and have the chance to travel at the same time. The combination of having such a big, supportive team to work with and being able to speak to friends and family on Facebook and Skype made the 5,411 miles feel much, much closer.