Education: BSc Psychology - Sheffield Hallam University, UK
Current Role: Final Year Student
SLV.Global Placement: Mental Health Placement, July 2014
Tell us about your SLV.Global experience: ‘It was around this time of the year, two years back when I came across the opportunity to go a psychology placement with SLV. I was a first year student, I was hunger for, or perhaps a little desperate, for any type of experience in the psychology field. It was hard to find any form of internship or even volunteering in the psychology field without any experience, let alone degreeless. As such, I decided to embark on my SLV journey back in July 2014 and it was an eye opener for me!’
‘Going back in time, I was really nervous before going to Sri Lanka, as it was the first time I was volunteering abroad without any friendly faces going with me. However, all my worries were unwarranted, I was taken good care of by the lovely SLV people from the airport ride to Homagama and to purchasing all the essentials. I wont say Sr Lanka was what I expected because it was not! I knew we wont be staying in 5 star hotels or dining in luxury but I didn’t expect to be living the true Sri Lankan lifestyle like eating with our hands and taking buses when half the time, I was confused or unsure of the places’ names. I was sceptical at first, but I soon got used to it thankfully to the other girls I lived with who made me feel at home. We explored every little bit like the markets and the fruits that were not seen before, and most importantly the heart of Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankans. They were one of the warmest and friendliest people I have met, they were so ready to share their life stories with you and even a smile or wave from us put smiles to their faces, they made us or rather me feel special. Moving on to the actual placement, it was really different, I never expected to be able to into mental health hospitals or Women’s homes. I saw our weekly visits as an opportunity to just interact with them, to get them to move through games, balloons, colorings, drawings and the most popular, loom bands! I didn’t even know how to make those bracelets and I had to learn because those ladies looked so happy just to have one!
Tell us what you gained from the placement: ‘They taught me so much more than what textbooks could, they taught me empathy, patient and love. They may not remember my name or me even, but what they had taught me were beyond what I could give them, they taught me to cherish. Seeing how small things made them so happy made me reflected on myself, where I never took the time to just breathe and enjoy the moment instead of the constant rushing. While, at Sri Lanka, I also had the opportunity to teach English to older adolescence to older adults and it was refreshing to an ex-primary teacher to finally meet people who were passionate about learning again! That is what I had taken away from Sri Lanka, to cherish because in some other parts of the world, someone desire to be in your place, to have the luxury of what you are taking for granted.’