January 16, 2018, by Abigail Bennetts
How the International Work Experience Grant Funded My Month in Sri Lanka
by Abigail Bennetts, third-year, psychology student
Two weeks after finishing my second-year exams, I flew out to Sri Lanka to spend five weeks living in jungle surroundings on a mental health placement.
One of the best parts of it all?
The Careers and Employability Service awarded me £750 towards my trip through the International Work Experience Grant.
Finding an opportunity on Facebook
I first found about SLV Global via an advert on Facebook three months before my adventure started. I was in the midst of a career (life) melt-down, and so on a whim, I got in touch with SLV Global. They offered a range of different mental health placements for psychology students, with an emphasis on providing a high-quality working experience, as well as ensuring maximum benefit for the communities where the placements take place.
The opportunity to gain some practical experience in the mental health sector, while being able to travel on the weekends seemed like one I could not turn down. SLV Global offer placements in India, Bali and Sri Lanka, and I was elated when, after a short telephone interview, they offered me a Level One Mental Health placement in Sri Lanka.
Realising I didn’t have £2000 to spare
With costs including the placement fee, flights, vaccinations and visas mounting up to almost £2000 – that I didn’t have – I began to seek out ways to fund my placement. SLV Global recommended that I set up a fundraising page, which went onto raise over £200. Mainly thanks to kind donations from friends and family.
Then I discovered the International Work Experience Grant
It’s designed to help Nottingham students undertake work experience opportunities they might not otherwise be able to afford. You could be awarded up to £750 if you meet certain eligibility criteria.
The application for the grant was really simple. All I had to do was give details of my placement and any anticipated costs. Soon after applying, I was invited to an interview. The interview was just an informal chat about what my placement would involve and what I hoped to achieve. They also explained what was required of me.
All I had to do was send over the required documents as evidence of my placement. When I returned, I would be asked to write a short summary about my placement and how it had benefited me.
My placement was an experience I’ll never forget
I stayed with a Sri Lankan family. They were so kind and accommodating to me and the five other lovely girls I lived with.
I spent my time teaching young children and delivering creative therapy workshops to those with mental health issues. Seeing the positive effect it had was so rewarding. And it looks great on my CV! Sri Lanka is a beautiful country, one I may never have visited if it were not for this placement.
On the weekends, I travelled. I had the opportunity to do some amazing things. From releasing baby sea turtles into the ocean and cliff jumping, to seeing elephants and trekking in the jungle; it was truly incredible.
I also developed lots of employability skills. For example, organisation, communication and creativity.
Are you looking for work experience abroad this summer and would like some help with funding? Find out if you’re eligible for the International Work Experience Grant here.