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Read recent reviews from past volunteers

Thinking like a ‘Clinician’ in India
I worked in the deaddiction centre of the hospital in Jaipur, dealing with substance-addicted patients. There was lots of reading and the main work was learning how to conduct ‘History Taking’ and ‘Mental Status Examinations’ on patients. I got the opportunity to Interact with patients struggling with substance issues and see what it is like to spend time in a clinical ward in a setting like this, learning how mental healthcare operates in India.

Reema got me to think like a clinician and makes sure you learn. I am not here to be a patient’s friend, so the language you use and the interactions you have with patients are important. You need a certain ‘clinician’ brain to put on when working. For what I will now do in my postgraduate almost everything I was taught and told to read will be very relevant, particularly the readings on DSM/ICD. I felt like I learnt the practicals and basics of what being a clinician in this context looks like and it is going to direct so much of my working future now. It was an invaluable experience.

For my soul spending 5 weeks with the family and the charity, trying my best to see how that works, and immersing myself as much as I can, will all be the most life-changing to me as a person. The time with the children was just joy, they were all lovely and happy. They want to talk to you and interact. There is a lot of smiling. Smile at everyone and they’re always smiling at you.
Ben Cattley
University of Northampton
February 2024
This Experience Helped me be More Confident
I feel like this placement has helped with my studies and future career as I’ve learned about the court processes when dealing with abused children and how to work with children safely. I went to courts to see what the process was like for children who had been sexually abused, I learned how to do court prep and how to safely interview children without them feeling upset/worried.

I had the opportunity to learn about cases where people had sexually abused children and I went to a commission of inquiries for a hotel fire and wrote notes about what the professionals, fire department and other witnesses in the court said. I also helped with some community outreach projects and organised recycled shoes and stationery for donation.

This was a life-changing experience and being with the children, seeing their positive attitudes and learning about their lives and the work that goes on to support them was incredible. I would recommend this programme as it’s an experience that helped me be more confident to travel, meet new people, work in a different environment and deal with vulnerable and sensitive situations.
Rachel Hunter
Nottingham Trent University
January 2024
Helped me Recognize my Future Aspirations
The placement has been instrumental in helping me recognize my future aspirations. I’ve come to realize that I seek a profession with more movement and variability. This experience has been incredibly informative, and I genuinely believe I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge and insights from the overall immersion in the placement.

I found immense joy in forming connections with the children, engaging in counselling sessions, and playing games with them. While it took some time for certain children to open up, after a few days, it felt as though I had known them for an extended period. This familiarity made saying goodbye after spending an extended period with them particularly challenging.

I gained a substantial amount of knowledge from Alex at the local hospital. We dedicated significant time to preparing various health talks, delving into topics such as suicide, substance abuse, work-related stress, and stress management. Additionally, we had the valuable opportunity to meet with patients and discuss their case files. The most enlightening aspect of my experience was collaborating with the nurse at the Psychiatric Hospital. They took the time to meticulously explain each step involved in patient care, including the intake and discharge processes. Additionally, they provided insights into the daily routines of patients who spent their entire day in the ward.
Pia Hampel
Maastricht University
January 2024
Hands-on and Practical Psychology Experience
The psychology placement was very insightful. It was a very hands-on and practical experience that I will carry through my life as I wish to be a clinical psychologist. I was mainly involved in clinical history taking of patients with addiction (primarily alcohol and opium) and I also sat in on diagnostic sessions with the Dr. I learnt about clinical assessment in psychology, delved into the DSM and ICD-10, learned about psychiatric diagnosis and addictions, and helped run anxiety and depression tests for clients.

Spending time with the kids in the afternoon was wonderful! I feel like I have made friends for life. Meeting the kids and Smriti aunt and seeing the life she has built for them and the experiences she ensures they have was truly inspiring. Also seeing the children’s love for each other and how they built their own family away from their birth givers was great.
Pavani Duggal
University of St Andrews
December 2023
It Helped Me Understand Myself More
This was the first time I got to engage with Clinical Psychology practically. A lot of my studies (as a Law student) focus on the theory of rehabilitation, but I got to actually sit in rehab clinics and engage with the clients, which really helped put my studies into practice. As someone who wants to go into Clinical-Forensic Psychology, but is currently studying Law, this Psychology work experience will definitely benefit me when I do my Master’s.

When I was in the Psychology Department I got to learn and contribute to some of the case studies that were being taught to the Psychiatric Nurse students. The rehabilitation clinic had a visiting group of Americans who made us all have counselling sessions, along with the clients. Hearing everyone’s own stories as well as giving my own contributions really helped me understand myself more.
Marilyn Gomes
University of Cambridge
December 2023
Priceless Once-in-a-lifetime Experience in India
I really had the best time!! I want to thank Vocational Impact because it was very well organized, and I felt very safe and taken care of. I’m very grateful for all the work you guys put in! Overall, my experience and impressions of my time in India were impressive, unmatched and priceless, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It is hard for me to generally put into words what I learned and how much I feel I have grown during this time.

I cultivated so much compassion, empathy, and understanding that this will definitely help me in my future profession. I will be able to have a better understanding of situations that I cannot directly relate to. It gives me understanding and perspective for things that are not my own. I understand hardship on a new level and this understanding creates empathy and this empathy can only be of benefit for a psychotherapist.
Lena Funk
Erasmus University Rotterdam
November 2023

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