The Journey Before The Journey - Sri Lanka

As a psychology graduate, it was a real challenge to find myself a job relating to psychology or mental health after university. I was sending out endless applications for jobs, internships and general work experience relating to psychology with barely any response. That's when I realised that I had found myself stuck in that dreaded cycle of needing experience to get experience and ended up in a job that made me unhappy.

I stumbled across SLV.Global and applied for an advertised role that seemed to suit me when reading the spec. I was pleasantly surprised when I was informed that I had been booked in for a phone interview. It was nice to even get a response so quickly as callbacks tend to be rare. With this in mind, I did my research to find out who SLV.Global were and what they actually did to figure out what I could bring to the table. It turned out that the voluntary placement provided could give me just the psychology work experience that I had been searching for, so I asked to be considered for the actual placement instead of the role that I had initially applied for. It didn’t feel like the formal interview that I had expected but was a lot warmer and more conversational. I spent around 20 minutes on the phone where we highlighted the issue of experience before talking about what I had been getting up to at the time and my ambition to become a counsellor.

Within a week of that interview, I had announced that I would be flying out to Sri Lanka for 6 weeks to take part in the Level One Mental Health placement in just under 3 months! I worked, saved and fundraised to cover the cost of everything that was needed and had no regrets in making what for me was a very bold decision at the time.

I was on track with all my preparations but started debating whether I had made the right decision or not after having a mini-drama to get my visa. After walking into the Sri Lankan High Commission early in the morning with everything including a printout of the Acquiring Your Visa document from my portal, I was told that they couldn’t accept my application. Confused and now starting to panic as this was the only day I had available to get it done, I managed to speak to Jess from the SLV.Global HQ on the phone. She was calm and reassuring, offering me several options to try which did not work, due to changes that had occurred. She advised that I be super friendly and smile a lot (which was easy when the Sri Lankans on the desk were just that) and doing so made the encounter feel a lot less awkward. Eventually, after several phone calls and failed attempts at negotiations, we found a solution and my visa was issued that day (YAY!). With only 3 weeks to go, I was left with just one more thing to do… GO SHOPPING!!!!

After 6 weeks of teaching children and adults alike, working in special needs schools and using my knowledge of social and developmental psychology throughout, I found myself being a more confident and effective communicator. I returned to reality with a new found confidence that not only allowed me me to work in a more efficient manner, but also helped me to push for the promotion that I had been eyeing before I left. A month later, I had landed the promotion and accepted a spot on the new Bali placement that would later help me get onto my Master's course. #Winning.