Submitted by Carly - Abertay University | September 25, 2017
I enjoyed every minute of the program and I learned so much about ancient and clinical psychology. I was welcomed in to the culture and found it interesting how different the Indian culture is. I enjoy trying new foods and meeting new people
Submitted by suksuma - Sydney | September 25, 2017
Overall, SLV Bali was fantastic. Everything was taken care of, staff were all super friendly and approachable, and there was plenty of down time.
The work itself was not particularly difficult, but was exhausting from an energy perspective, purely because you have to put in a lot of energy to maintain users' focus. People who have completed their degree or have been studying psychology for a while may find the sessions aren't as 'clinical' as they might expect, but if you go in with the expectation that you will mostly be running what are team-building/remedial group activities you will enjoy yourself.
Would strongly recommend
Mental Health Activity Worker
Submitted by 2104 - Watford, Hertfordshire United States | September 24, 2017
Overall, the experience was great however it did fail to match the description of what was advertised. This pilot placement did seem like it was more voluntourism as opposed to gaining valuable clinical experience from a cross-cultural perspective.
The biggest concerns with this placement is that the projects themselves seem to have failed to meet my expectations of what would entail. The services we were engaged in were very diverse and this was a great experience, however, for every single project we session planned arguably similar material (with minor modification to meet the “aims and objectives”). Secondly, it’s easy to twist everything to have a psychological benefit, because, at the end of the day, everything we do in life pretty much is underpinned with psychological components and well-being. Is it possible if we could tailor the sessions differently to focus more on therapeutic interventions or other more structured sessions pulling on evidence based practice to directly improve the psychological well-being of these service users as opposed to playing ‘skittle ball’ and knocking down bottles of water with a ball.
Furthermore, throughout the whole four weeks ‘feedback’ forms were demanded and requested for weekly. This I have no problem with as for any project, feedback and the ability to reflect and develop your sessions is imperative. However, what was essentially frustrating was that not once throughout the whole four weeks were we ever provided with feedback completed by a different group. Thus, are the sessions actually developing? I doubt it. Will any other group look at my feedback forms to be able to see what our team completed allowing them to construct a similar yet progressive activity? I doubt it. Thus, although feedback has been collected it seems redundant. For future purposes, it would be extremely useful to receive this information prior to planning a session to allow for us to develop them and actually benefit and develop the service users at a greater rate. As in turn you have a much slower rate of growth, similar to as follows:
Week 1) Orientation
Week 2) first week planning a session, getting to understand the service, their users and planning a session that is of suitable difficulty. (many of our first sessions were either too difficult or too easy for the service users as not having adequate understanding of the level of functioning of the service users).
Week 3) Second week of planning. All sessions were far superior to week 2 as we have adequate understanding of the services and the ability of their users. No complaints here, although once again we weren’t given our own feedback to reflect on and have to do from memory instead.
Week 4) leave for Java.
My biggest regret with the placement itself is the project in Java. Not only is the journey extremely long, after learning that a last-minute flight to java is only £40 (one way) it does make you question how much more expensive this is for SLV? (considering we had to hire two massive coaches equipped with TV’s, providing us lunch for the return journey as well as paying for the ferry connections between the two islands. I would have happily paid for a one hour plane myself to East Java than to take the ferry – even more so after our coach smelt awful and was infested with cockroaches. What made this journey even more painstaking is that we did all this traveling for only 3 sessions (where one session was with children and adolescents again and was literally the same as the work we did in Bali). I have slight difficulty finding a positive aspect to East Java – maybe the carnival we went to was good fun, but it saddens me that this is the only highlight (voluntourism), but is hard to outshine the appalling food in the hotel, laborious journey to and from Java, and underwhelming city we visited as a ‘recreational activity’.
Despite all this I would like to end on a positive note, the traveling and experience of culture within Bali was outstanding as well as the living conditions within the homestay. I thoroughly enjoyed many of the English teaching lessons within Bali, as well as the different locations within Bali (although at times we would spend more time traveling to them, than actual project work).
Would I recommend this to someone else? I would be hesitant. I think this is an ideal opportunity for someone who is still studying at university to complete in-between semesters for the summer break. For someone who has already graduated and worked in various settings, not so much as there may be greater opportunities that offer more clinical work or greater value-for-money patient contact. In order for me to recommend it to the later, I would suggest more clinically orientated work (more time spent in hospitals, greater time spent on projects, [completely remove Java], and shorter orientation as although this was thorough and extremely helpful, it was rather excessive.
Lastly, I would like to acknowledge Amy’s hard work and commitment to the experience as she was always helpful and very warming in the first weeks of orientation. She made the whole experience a lot brighter.
Sri Lanka Lassanai!
Submitted by Rebecca - University of Bristol | September 23, 2017
This summer, I volunteered on the 5 week mental health placement in Sri Lanka. Not only was the experience beneficial and rewarding as work experience and looks great on my CV. It also gave me the opportunity to experience a different culture and meet so many amazing people in a beautiful country. The projects were incredible - the impact that SLV has in the community and to service users is so rewarding. Even though, the placement could be challenging at times, the benefits and positives of the placement far outweigh the challenging moments. Even in the short time I was there, I could see the difference we were making on the projects and indeed, in the service users.
During the placement, I overcame fears I did not know I had (flying solo to Sri Lanka, cockroaches to name but a few...). When I arrived in Sri Lanka, I was incredibly nervous, after flying long haul on my own for the first time, I immediately felt comfortable when I met the SLV staff at the airport and the other like-minded psychology students/graduates. Some of these like-minded psychology strangers are now friends for life and made my experience 100% better - "Team work makes the dream work." That saying was so relevant on the whole placement; as without the friends I made, the lovely and helpful SLV staff and my homestay family, I would not have had the confidence to be the best version of myself.
This truly life-enhancing and beautiful experience put everything into perspective for me. It has made me feel more confident and driven to complete a masters in educational psychology and hopefully complete a doctorate in this field. This placement reiterated to me the importance of mental health and how promoting positive mental health wherever in the world, whether it be your small town called home or in a completely different culture and country can make a massive impact and this can cause a ripple effect on others.
Overall, I feel I have grown as a person; not only did I learn about how mental health is viewed in a different culture and now have fantastic work experience behind me, the memories and things I've learnt about not only other people but myself in Sri Lanka will stay with me forever.
Beautiful Sri Lanka
Submitted by Chan - University of Leicester | September 23, 2017
My time in Sri Lanka is a memory that will never fade. It was such an eye-opening, life-enhancing experience and the beauty of Sri Lanka's culture and people made it even more wonderful.
The volunteering placement was immersive, active and so much fun. There were various projects we were involved in, whether it was teaching English in the local schools, participating in arts and crafts with special needs children or assisting older adults in activity support projects, they all involved everyone and brought a smile to everyone's faces. As volunteers we can bring fresh and interesting ideas to projects and create a change in people's lives. We were able to get creative and bring new ideas and activities to the table so that service users could take them further into the future.
As well as the projects, the whole experience helped me grow as a person, as It was my first time traveling alone I was quite nervous but when I arrived, I was welcomed by a whole community of people and didn't feel alone at all. I've made friends for life and tried new experiences that I never thought I would during the weekends away, like, holding a turtle or rafting down rapids in the middle of the jungle.
I recommend this placement to anyone looking for experience in Psychology but also, to those who want to see more of the world and meet amazing people, delve into a vibrant culture and to those who just want to make a difference and create positive changes in the world.
Thank you to SLV for this life-changing experience, introducing me to friends for life and for introducing me to Sri Lanka.
I've truly left a piece of my heart over there.