Support Worker for Volunteering Matters

SLVeteran Ella

ella belfield.jpg

Education: Psychology - University of Cambridge, UK

SLV.Global Placement: Advanced Placement, September 2017

Current Role: I am about to start volunteering as a support worker for the charity volunteering matters for 6 months in the UK.

Tell us about your SLV.Global experience: SLV.Global was a wonderful and fascinating experience and the 10 weeks I spent in Sri Lanka will never be forgotten. The projects were all so different and enabled you to learn how to dive in, think fast and really connect with people in a new way. I absolutely loved living in Homogama with all its quirks, amazing food and wonderful people. It's a trip that often left me thinking 'what on earth am I doing?' but in the best kind of way possible!

Tell us what you gained from your SLV.Global Placement: I would definitely say that the advanced placement has enhanced my resume. It was a fantastic first work experience placement to be able to complete. I am now able to confidently talk about the mental health system in another country which is quite a unique skill. I also now have experience and confidence planning sessions for and interacting with service users in multiple situations which I feel will very much benefit me when being asked about how to deal with new situations in an interview. The range of tasks we undertook was so varied and the extra experiences like the addiction workshop and the detention centre are just so rare to find anywhere else that I do think they stand out on a resume and also give great experience that you can talk about and use in a job.

I think this placement has taught me how to be more confident in many situations, not just related to psychology. I feel more confident talking to and interacting with all different service users. I think my teamwork skills have improved; there is a special kind of teamwork that I think you only learn when teaching children who don't speak your language how to play a new game, or how to make a god's eye.

I also think the placement has made me more able to adapt quickly to challenges and throw myself into anything. I am more aware of how culture impacts both the way mental health can present itself and also how it needs to be treated, which can be hard to fully appreciate just from lectures but is so important when applying what you've learnt. Because of this, I would say I am more open minded about all different types of mental health treatment. Previously I was set on specialising in child psychology but since the placement I am now excited to work with many different groups.