We get lots of inquiries from psychology students and professionals looking to volunteer abroad, eager to put the skills they’ve learned in the classroom to work. They make the choice to volunteer at different times in their educational or professional journey, with different experiences and different goals in mind. Each of these volunteers brings attributes from their unique backgrounds that make them great fits for Vocational Impact.
Recently, we had the pleasure of working with a psychology volunteer, Lucy. Lucy is a psychology student at the University of Leeds and volunteered with us at Operation Bobbi Bear in South Africa for three weeks. She chose to study psychology because she believes “it enables [her] to be more aware of social and individual issues that [she] hopes to work towards helping within a career in psychology”. When speaking about her time at school, she told us “I think during my time studying, I have become sensitive to the different needs of people I encounter every day and tend to respond appropriately in these circumstances”. She was excited to volunteer to gain hands-on experience with what she learned in her psychology courses.
In addition to her coursework, Lucy has other volunteer experience. In the past, she worked with Nightline, which she described to us as “a confidential, anonymous, non-directive or advisory services which trains you in issues surrounding information requests on anything ranging from a lost student card to counselling services and sources of support for survivors of sexual or domestic abuse”. She also volunteered with the Sign Language Society, helping people communicate and express themselves effectively.
Before leaving to volunteer, Lucy told us a bit about what she hoped to get out of the experience. She told us she hoped to push herself out of her comfort zone and apply the skills she already has to real world situations while also developing new skills. She expected to be challenged to have to adapt quickly to critical situations and learn to work effectively in difficult situations. Overall, she was looking forward to the opportunity to develop as a psychologist and explore a new culture. We thought with her passion, drive, and experience made her a phenomenal candidate to volunteer with Bobbi Bear. So, we set her up and sent her on her way! Check back in with us soon to hear how Lucy’s experience in South Africa turned out!