Volunteer Girl Guiding, UK

SLVeteran Sarah

Education: Sociology BSc (Hons), Psychology (Conversion) MSc - University of Chester, UK.

SLV.Global Placement: Graduate Mental Health Placement, January 2017

Current Role: I am considering differing career and education opportunities whilst continuing to volunteer with Rainbows, Girl-Guiding UK.

Tell us about your SLV.Global experience: I first heard about SLV.Global through Facebook along with university friends. Once I finished my MSc I wanted to gain as much hands-on psychology experience as possible to give me a better basis for future career options. After applying for and accepting the opportunity, I completed a TEFL qualification with the help of SLV.Global and flew out within a matter of months.

In January 2017, I set off to spend 12 weeks in Kotte, Sri Lanka on the Graduate Mental Health Placement. SLV.Global are with you throughout your time there, and offer a range of support so that whatever you need is covered, even if you discover you’re allergic to mosquito bites and end up having to start antibiotics within days of arriving! There’s nothing to worry about as every ‘problem’ is easily overcome. Everyone on the placement is in the same boat and supports each other throughout the experience, through sharing ideas and plans for projects to planning weekend adventures. I feel so privileged to have been welcomed into my homestay family to experience birthdays and celebrations together along with thunder storms and film nights!

At the end of each project, we would discuss and evaluate how the session had gone to prepare our ideas for the following week. You soon find yourself saying ‘this is one of my favourite projects’, after every session. They are so varied it’s impossible to choose a favourite as they are all so rewarding. Projects can be truly emotional as you can see your influence upon service users where volunteers are gradually making a difference in their lives; from children gaining confidence in their own ability, to special needs groups interacting and working with one another.

Weekends are the best opportunity to explore the island and the have adventures you never expected to have, from spending your 26th birthday on a packed over night train during a poya weekend to observing breath taking views from dizzying heights. Making friends with the locals and experiencing the real Sri Lanka is not to be missed.

Tell us what you gained from your placement: My experience with SLV.Global has opened my mind to other possible future careers after finding enjoyment and fulfilment in every single project. SLV.Global has left me with lifelong skills, memories and relationships. I greatly valued the once in a lifetime opportunity to learn from professionals throughout the placement during workshops and additional lectures.