Assistant Psychologist

SLVeteran Jess

Education: Forensic Psychology - University of Warwick, UK. Mental Health MSC -University of Manchester, UK

SLV.Global Placement: Mental Health Placement, January 2014

Current Role: 'When I got back I wanted to gain more clinical experience and was fortunate to get a job as a Healthcare Assistant. This was on a low-secure, borderline personality disorder ward that specialised in dialectical-behavioural therapy. The SLV placement and my HCA experience then enabled me to gain a place on an MSc in Forensic Psychology and Mental Health. I am now very keen to get back into a clinical setting and have just gained a job as an Assistant Psychologist on a female, low secure ward in a different hospital.'

Tell us about your SLV.Global experience: 'I was a volunteer coordinator on the January-April 2014 placement based in Homagama. Amma and Tata took us all in as one of their own and made us feel at home as soon as we arrived. Although challenging at times, it was extremely rewarding and I enjoyed the extra responsibility of being a coordinator. The projects are fantastic and really enable you to be creative and grow, as both an individual and a team. The Sri Lankan people are the kindest I have ever met and although some may have next to nothing, they will always offer what they have, be it a seat on a bus or a smile. The weekends offered a well-deserved opportunity to sightsee, unwind and relax in one of the most diverse island countries in the world. The food is out of the world and still over two years later, I have pangs for Amma’s pumpkin curry, hoppas and kottu. In short, this placement was incredible and I highly recommend it!'

Tell us what you gained from the placement: 'Without a doubt. SLV grew my confidence massively. The teaching projects were great and it made me realise how rewarding teaching is as well as working as a team with fellow volunteers. This required great organisation, flexibility, communication and creativity. The special needs and mental health projects again required creativity, communication and patience but were extremely rewarding. Of course, working across language and cultural barriers was an additional challenge worth discussing at interviews. The coordinator element enabled me to see ‘the other side’ of projects and to experience a higher level of responsibility. I enjoyed providing support and motivation to fellow volunteers and learnt just as much from them as they did from me. This role required organisation skills, the ability to keep calm under pressure, a good sense of humour and the ability to and liaise effectively with all other SLV team members.' 'Don’t sweat the small stuff, just keep smiling. Although you can’t help but sweat on Sri Lankan public buses! Volunteering is very rewarding and worthwhile. I am hoping to mentor ex-offenders on a voluntary basis whilst working in my new job. Take time to explore other cultures and look forward to the small things, like a king coconut on the way home. (Inspired by Adele, the volunteer not the musician).'