“I really enjoyed my experience in Sri Lanka. I met and worked with some amazing people and got to do things I wouldn't normally get to do which was a lot of fun. It was also amazing having the weekends to explore a beautiful country, and we are able to learn a lot about the culture as we were completely immersed in it. However I do feel like it was a bit expensive. We paid a lot of money, then were constantly asked for money for extra things when we were there, e.g. paying for minibuses. I also feel like it would be beneficial to have more informative things, like the field trips, as I feel like I did a lot of arts and crafts, which I loved doing and so did the service users, but I would like to learn more about the theoretical side of things as well as actually doing them.”
Thank you for your comprehensive feedback, Sarah! We're glad you enjoyed the projects as well as the travelling at the weekend. We appreciate volunteering abroad can be a large financial commitment and we take your valued advice on board in the effort to provide more information to volunteers prior to the placement. We agree the field trips are educational and interesting for volunteers, however, it is not always possible to take part in multiple trips due to time constraints. We hugely admire your dedication and we're happy you joined us in Sri Lanka. Best of luck for the future, we are always here if you want to discuss these points further, or should you need anything at all. :)
Thank you for taking the time to write a review about your time! It's nice to hear that you enjoyed your experience with SLV.Global - we loved having you on the team! We wish you all the best for the future and please keep in touch :)
“It was a nice experience to work with people in different age groups, which helped me to understand my strength and weaknesses to work with those people. Preparing and conducting a creative session was not easy, but would be really good once you see service users happy with the plan.”
Hi there! Thanks for sharing your review. It's great to know that taking part in our placement has helped your personal development. We loved having you on the team. Please keep in touch and we wish you the best of luck for the future.
“Was a great experience, eased me in to my time alone in South East Asia. I was on a pilot programme so still a few elements to be tweaked for us I feel, hence the 4 star review but as a young person, fresh from uni this would be a great introduction to the big wide world and mental health. Perhaps a little restrictive for older volunteers but a great cushion for those of lesser experience and certainly fun none the less!”
Hi Laura, thank you so much for taking the time to write a great review about your time on the 5th September 2016 team in Bali! We are so pleased to read that you had such an amazing experience, especially as you mentioned it was your first journey into travelling and global mental health. Thank you also for your useful feedback about the Bali Mental Health placement too - as you mentioned, the program is still in its infancy, so all of your feedback is really beneficial to developing the placement further! Thanks again and good luck in the future. We would be delighted to have you involved with SLV.Global again if your commitments allow! :D
Hi Kate, thank you for sharing your experiences with us. We're so glad you are able to utilise the skills you developed on placement, we loved having you on the team! We wish you all the best for the future and please keep in touch :)
“I took part in the 4 week mental health placement in Bali in 2016. This provided me with valuable first hand experience working with people with mental health issues in different settings, ranging from a psychiatric facility to within the community. Attending the same projects over the course of 4 weeks means that you are able to watch the service users develop their skills and you can see the positive impact you are having on different individuals lives.
At the time it was a pilot placement that had not been run before and so there were some areas of improvement, but the staff were always asking for our feedback on different areas of the project and had put our feedback in action by the time the next group of volunteers had arrived. The organisers were really keen to make the project as best as it could be for everyone involved (homestay owners, service users, staff, volunteers etc), and it was nice to see that we as volunteers were having a positive impact on the development of the project.
Not only did this volunteer placement provide me with excellent work experience, it was a great opportunity to explore a different part of the world, live in a different culture and to meet some great people - some of which I am still in contact with now! I would definitely recommend doing this placement as volunteering abroad gives you the best of both worlds, and the SLV staff are really approachable and always on board to answer you questions and give you support whenever you may need it.”
Hi Ellie, thanks for the review. It's great to hear that you were able to build these close relationships as well as feel like you could make a difference. We really appreciate all of your efforts. Please keep in touch and best of luck for the future.
“It was a great opportunity that involved a variety of placements. The staff, community and other volunteers were all very supportive and welcoming, it was incredibly easy to make friends. However, it was different than what I expected and found it quite different to how I had imagined it.”
Hey Danielle! Thank you so much for the review :) It's lovely to hear that you enjoyed your placement with us in Sri Lanka last year! We are currently in the process of looking at our pre-depature info to ensure we provide a good picture of what volunteers should expect in country, so this feedback is extremely helpful to us! Thanks again, but best of luck for the future and we would be delighted to have you involved with SLV.Global again if your commitments allow! :)
“Joining the SLV team in Bali was probably one of the most exciting experiences. The team out there really took time in picking the right activities for us to have a good time. Staff members were very supportive throughout the placement.”
Thank you so much for your lovely review! :) we're so pleased to hear that you enjoyed your time with us in Bali and that you found the experience so exciting! Best of luck for the future and please do keep in touch.
“I don't regret this experience one bit. I enjoyed my time and had a lot of fun and met a lot of amazing people. However, Something to think about is there are a lot of hidden costs and you get promised things that aren't necessarily true. Although I loved the work I did, it was not what I signed up for. Did not feel like I was doing psychology at all, it's more of an education placement then mental health.”
It's great to hear that you had such a fun experience. We always try to be as open as we can when it comes to fees and costs involved in our placements, but you are right, we aren't able to give people an exact amount of what they will spend, as it is really up to the individual. With regards to the placement timetable, all of our projects have a mental health focus and we firmly believe that reducing stigma is a huge part of our role where we work. We want to give psychology students and graduates a multi-faceted experience, as many individuals find the work at the hospital challenging and we want our focus to be on mental health not mental illness. Of course we understand your perspective, though and are grateful for your insight. There is loads more info on the link below which discusses the long term benefits associated with the work we do in more detail. I hope this helps but please let us know if there is anything we can do for you in the future. Thanks! :) https://slv.global/blog/psychological-benefits-of-group-work
Hi there, thank you so much for your review :) we loved reading that you found the placement so exciting and that you enjoyed immersing yourself in the Sri Lankan culture! Please keep in touch and best of luck for the future.
“I greatly enjoyed my time in Bali. The team was a lot of fun and the other volunteers became friends that I'll cherish for life. The projects had a big impact on how I see the world and the weekends were amazing. I also really liked my homestay family, but my homestay was much more cramped and outdated compared to larger homestays. While I initially thought the placement fee was a good deal, everything in Bali was so cheap that I wonder where our money actually went. I would've liked to see a print out explaining where the money goes. Also, I felt that the placement stressed clinical psychology pre-departure but focused more on education during the actual time we were there. As an educational studies minor, I enjoyed this, but wished the placement was more honestly described in pre-departure. Many of the other volunteers had no interest in education and felt a bit mislead by our pre-departure information. Overall, I would recommend the Bali placement with SLV, but with some reservation. I would tell people who are looking for a true clinical psych experience to keep looking. But if you're interested in an immersive placement experiences that focuses on improving mental wellbeing, take a chance on SLV.”
Thank you for taking the time to write a review for us about your placement in Bali, Ally! It's great to hear how much you enjoyed getting to know the other volunteers, homestay families, and the projects out there. Of course you are right about differences in homestays and although we try to standardise as much as we can they are all real homes of local community members, so naturally they will all vary in size and layout.
As far as our placement content, we don't promise a clinical psychology placement, but a mental health placement. I'm pleased you highlighted that the work you and your fellow teammates did was rooted in trying to improve the mental well-being of the service users we work with, as that's our aim and the most important thing to us. Thank you so much for your feedback, as it will help us to further improve our placements. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you wish to discuss anything further, or if there is anything we can do for you. All the best :D
“The company did an amazing job in looking after us and making sure we got the most out of our experiences with them. The leaders were incredibly helpful, friendly and down-to-earth, which is exactly what was needed on the trip! They planned an eventful and interesting itinerary that had the flexibility to allow us to make the most of our time or take some time out when needed. They catered for our needs very well and made the whole trip and every experience pleasurable. I had a fantastic trip to India thanks to the well-planned itinerary, helpful and friendly leaders, and a good atmosphere created by the people that they chose to take on board. Only flaw is that sometimes for group activities, there was not a head count and some people got left behind, but wegre shortly collected again. A wonderful experience overall, would recommend SLV.Global very highly.”
Hi Isabelle, thank you so much for your lovely review! You were a fantastic asset to the 2nd July 2017 India team and we're so pleased to hear that you enjoyed your time with us. Thank you also for your useful feedback about head counts - we will take this on board so other volunteers don't get left behind in the future! Please let us know if we can help you with anything at all in the future. Keep in touch!
“It was such a warm and friendly environment to be in. I immedialty felt welcomed by everyone on the team and it was very reassuring when entering a scary and forgien experience. The trip was very well organized and they took our opinions into consideration when looking for things to do when we had free time. Overall it was an amazing experience with amazing people”
“I went to Sri Lanka during a career break when I wanted to learn something new in a field of interest and also contribute by doing some volunteer work. SLV offered both with lots of opportunities for lectures and classroom style learning as well as on the job practical exposure to the mental health field. Add to this the fact that you get to experience real Sri Lankan family culture with the homestays and a great team spirit with your fellow volunteers. I would highly recommend the volunteer program for those wanting to develop their own skills and cultural awareness while giving something back to a community that really appreciates every smile and effort you make.”
“A really amazing experience.
Volunteering for SLV provides a chance to become part of a culture far from that of the UK. You get to live like a Sri Lankan and meet people from so many different backgrounds. Working on such challenging projects and being faced with situations that not many other people in the UK have been faced with, helps you to develop key life skills. For example, cross-cultural communication and resilience.
My points for improvement are that the projects can sometimes get a bit repetitive on the 12 week programme. It would be better to have a complete change in the monthly timetable, rather than just changing maybe one project.
Also the website needs to make it clearer that all the psychology projects provide Occupational Therapy experience, rather than clinical experience. And that you are given more teaching projects than psychology projects. These teaching projects are very enjoyable and beneficial but this point just needs to be made clear before people sign up to the programme. It also needs to be made clear that no matter how many weeks of the programme you do (4, 6, 8, 10 or 12) all the projects are exactly the same. I felt as though I was misled into thinking that the 12 week programme was distinctly different than if I'd done a programme with fewer weeks. And this is important to think about in terms of costing.
Overall, although there may be some improvements needed for the programme, it was a really amazing experience that I will not forget.”
“Great experience, learned so much in such a short space of time. The variety in projects was great as we really experienced a large scope of how mental health, special needs and education are run in Sri Lanka. Also lovely people and a beautiful country!”
“My experience in Sri Lanka was very worthwhile and eye opening. I enjoyed things i didn't expect to enjoy (Teaching projects) which was a great surprise to me. I wouldn't be happy in saying i was sufficiently happy that i gained mental health experience, the reason i signed up to the project as all we did was arts and crafts at nimh and halfway but it gave me a good opportunity to understand the different types of patient groups. The best day of the project was DJ Jegan field trip, which made up for the lack of clinical mental health on projects. I really enjoyed living in my home stay (lumbinis) it was very sociable if not a little bit grubby and old but i loved the family and everyone i stayed with so that didn't matter :)”
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