After my graduation in 2018, I took a gap year as I had no idea what I wanted to do next. I wanted to recover from the burnout 23 years of continuous education left and feel inspired about something! I decided to go to Srilanka with SLV.Global, it was one of the most spontaneous things I have ever done and I had no idea it would turn out to be one of the best decisions I ever made.
SLV.Global is a mental health organization providing volunteer placements and educational programmes in Europe, India and Bali, Indonesia. I was a part of their Sri Lankan adventure for three months and the reasons listed below are why I absolutely loved it, and highly recommend it!
1 Learn! Learn! Learn!
I got the opportunity to work with so many people from different backgrounds, all offering immense knowledge and different perspectives on mental health disorders. An important thing that I learned during my placement was to adapt and find the positive in every situation. There are so many other useful skills that I learned like team-building, communication, public speaking, empathetic listening, coordination, the list is endless. The more you expose yourself to new things and the more people you talk to, the more you are likely to learn and get a fresher perspective on life.
2 Immerse Yourself in the Rich and Diverse Culture
One of the most exciting things about this placement is that you actually live with a local family and eat local food! This was such a special experience. By the end of my placement, we were like one big family; looking out for each other, cooking together, supporting each other, celebrating birthdays and planning socials. It felt satisfying to come home to a delicious dinner with my friends, to put down my phone and chat about my day, and laugh at our hilarious experiences.
3 Participate in Fun and Knowledgeable Workshops
I got to attend and participate in lectures, talks, and workshops delivered by many experienced mental health professionals which gave me a firsthand knowledge on how everything works and not to mention it was a pleasure and a unique opportunity to be able to have my questions and doubts answered by a professional!
4 Help People with Mental Health Concerns
Volunteers on a mental health placement work with diverse client groups, including children and adults with specific needs and mental health concerns, with the aim to bolster the countries' existing resources and to promote positive mental health. The SLV.Global team strives to make a positive, responsible, and sustainable impact in the communities where they work. Do you like putting a smile on someone’s face? Because it feels meaningful, and oh so amazing to be able to do that.
5 Go on Field Trips, and Talk to Professionals
You get the unique opportunity to visit prestigious institutions and speak with local professionals, observing professionals work and potentially meeting their clients. It is a wonderful opportunity for anyone wanting to work in the field and get an idea of the professional environment you might be working in.
6 Get Essential Training
The best thing about this organization is, you don’t have to be a psych major or a psych student at all, you just need to be over 18 with a passion for making a difference, learning new things and travelling! SLV.Global offers comprehensive training and encourages volunteers to contribute to the continued growth and development of the team and its projects.
7 They Are Ethically Sustainable
SLV. Global currently work in three countries where they have focused on building lasting relationships with their projects and communities. They do not run their projects for profit and have a capacity of volunteers they allow on placement due to this. They value their staff and are serious about volunteers being respectful to each other. All volunteers are also required to do a DBS check before participating in a placement. During orientation and training, all volunteers are given guidelines on how to stay safe in the country and how to be respectful in the communities they have chosen to volunteer in.
8 Travel around a Beautiful Place and Make New Friends
I traveled around the beautiful island of Sri Lanka during the weekends/holidays, and enjoyed it so much! I explored the country, experienced the diverse Sri Lankan culture with new friends, watched the breathtaking sunsets on SriLankan beaches. Another thing I loved about this placement was that I didn’t feel like I had to try to be someone else or focus on how I looked. All you have there is your beautiful personality and the placement gives you a chance to let that shine and be the person you always wanted to be without worrying about what people think of you.
These are just a few of the valuable experiences I had on this beautiful journey. It’s a mental health placement like no other, offering something beyond mental health experience; offering something so special and unique, it will stay with you for years to come. The placement reminded me of my younger self; determined and a risk-taker, I felt inspired again.
If you are interested in applying for a program or placement with SLV.Global or have any questions, email me on – firstname.lastname@example.org
I would love to hear from you.
Your next big adventure could be one email away!
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