Personal Care Assistant

SLVeteran Dana

Education: Psychology - University of Southern California, USA

SLV.Global Placement: Graduate Mental Health Placement, January 2016

Current Role: 'Since I have been home, I have been working as a Personal Care Assistant for individuals with special needs. I am also volunteering at a summer camp for adults with physical disabilities, and this fall, I will begin a Masters of Social Science at the University of Chicago, concentrating in Psychology.'

Tell us about your SLV.Global experience: 'My SLV experience was life-changing to put it briefly. During my placement, I met people from across the world with a common interest in Psychology and a passion for mental health, that I now consider lifelong friends. The Sri Lankan people - my host family, SLV National Staff, project service users, Samutthana professionals, and even friendly neighbors on the street each provided a different perspective and piece of the story to understanding Sri Lankan culture. I never felt like an outsider, I felt incredibly welcomed and like I was a part of the community. I have lived abroad before, but I always felt like a tourist. In Maharagama, I knew my way around my town, could tell you which bus to take to different projects or to the beach, learned some Sinhala, became familiar with local business owners, and had Sri Lankan friends. It became my home, not just another tourist destination. SLV did a fantastic job of immersing us volunteers into Sri Lankan life, maintaining respect and cooperation for customs and systems already in place. I am so grateful that I saw an ad on Facebook and decided to take a chance and try it out. My life is forever changed for the better because of it, and I am already planning when I can return to visit this beautiful country and its amazing people!'

Tell us what you gained from the placement: 'Patience & a willingness to try the unfamiliar will take you so far in this world. Listen before you speak; try before you judge. And always hold on on the bus! I believe my experience in Sri Lanka helped strengthen my resume and made me a more well-rounded candidate when applying for both my current job and masters program.'