Psychology student Tegan Starr recently returned from a four-week placement in Sri Lanka, where she immersed herself in the unique culture of the increasingly popular travel destination while gaining workplace experience.
The overseas psychology placement was undertaken through SLV.Global, a mental health organisation that provides psychology students and graduates with an opportunity to gain practical experience in Bali, Sri Lanka or India.
Ms Starr worked with people of all ages and backgrounds on her placement, and was supported by local professionals who trained and mentored her, ensuring her interactions were sensitive to the local culture.
She said the placement was an incredible experience and appreciated the opportunity to explore a unique place in the world while gaining work experience.
“I gained hands on experience with mental health clients including running group therapy in local communities and psychiatric facilities, shadowing a psychologist and attending mindfulness classes,” Ms Starr said.
“I loved being immersed in the unique culture of Sri Lanka and being able to explore many parts of this beautiful island with new friends from around the world.”
Ms Starr’s tasks included facilitating sessions to increase intellectual and social stimulation, and providing human contact to individuals who, due to a lack of resources, are often treated with medication alone.
Together with the opportunity to practice skills and knowledge acquired at university, students are hosted by a local family for the placements, which provides an authentic experience and valuable cultural perspective while ensuring costs remain reasonable.