Published on Friday 17 June 2016
My Psychology work experience project in India
The medical placements are quite diverse and can be tailored to your interests. As a third year Psychology student, Katie was primarily interested in psychology work experience.
I travelled to Kerala for 4 weeks with Global Medical Projects during the summer between my 3rd and 4th year of my Psychology with Human Health degree. I was really eager to obtain psychology related work experience, as it is difficult to do so in the UK. My sister had previously travelled to Beijing for a medical placement with Global Medical Projects and enjoyed herself so much that she was interested to do another placement with me. After speaking to Kevin, he was very encouraging that even though I was a psychologist there would still be an opportunity for me to gain experience.
Before I arrived in India, Babu the director who is based in Kerala had already received my CV and a list of departments that I was interested in gaining experience in. He contacted a psychiatrist and psychologist and organised all the initial arrangements for me. Once I started my placement, it was up to me to organise the rest of my placement. For three weeks, I spent my time shadowing in psychiatric wards in three different hospitals. My experience included shadowing psychiatrists during ward rounds for in-patients and consultations with out-patients. Further time was spent with the psychologist during counselling sessions. I also got the opportunity to watch Electro-Convulsive Therapy. For my last week, I organised to spend time shadowing on a Neurology ward during ward rounds and appointments or consultations. During my work experience I was very eager to watch brain surgery; however I was told this would be very difficult to organise. Nevertheless, I was surprised because all it took was for me to ask the surgeons myself and I was lucky enough to observe three operations, one brain and two spinal surgeries. So it is definitely worth asking if you are interested! It is your placement at the end of the day, so make sure you are happy and feel that you are getting the most out of the experience.
I made some great friends in the hospital and at the end of my stay myself and the other volunteers were invited to join the psychiatrist and psychologist and their families for dinner. This was a great experience and I was very grateful for everything they did for me during my stay. I was so happy with my overall work placement. I never expected to see as much as did, most of which I would not have been allowed to see in the UK due to still being a university student. Its great experience to fill out your CV with or talk about in an interview! My only concern when booking was how well English would be spoken in the hospitals, but I found that it was well spoken by the majority of people I shadowed. I felt the doctors took the time to translate and explain everything clearly to me; they made me feel very welcome. However, I would say that some staff were quite shy and lacked confidence when speaking in English in front of me.
During our time in Kerala, we made the most of our evenings and weekends with the other volunteers so I would recommend making the most of time away.
If you’re looking for amazing work experience abroad and want to make new friends and experience living in a completely different culture- then I would definitely recommend Global Medical Projects! I felt everything was very organised and Kevin was always reliable and very helpful when I had any questions.
Well done Katie! Katie’s feedback shows that we can often arrange placements in specific areas of medicine, or the subjects allied to medicine. If there’s an area of medicine you would like to experience, contact us to discuss your objectives further. If you would like to follow in Katie’s footsteps, read more about our our medical placements in India.
Published on Thursday 9 June 2016
How Volunteering Can Boost Your Career
With many employers now looking to see what it is that makes you different from the numerous other job applications, volunteering can give your career prospects a boost.
From gaining practical hands-on experience to building professional relationships, volunteering goes beyond the realm of making us feel good inside to proving our worth when it comes to our careers.
To help you decide if a medical placement abroad is for you we’ve put together just how volunteering can help your career.
How many of us have started a job before we realised that it’s actually very different from how it looks on paper? Far more people probably come to that realisation than they would care to admit out loud. Volunteering can help to give you chance a to ‘try on’ a particular role, before you take it up full time.
A job role on paper can be vastly different to what you’ll end up doing on a day to day basis, and the reality is often very different to our expectations. A volunteering placement can help to give you chance to see what a role will really be like in reality or whether that particular working environment or organisation is right for you.
New and Improved Skillset
Each new job or role develops our skills. Volunteering in a new environment also helps us to apply our current skills in different ways. Whether it’s the new skills you learn, or old skills which are put into practice in different ways, both of these can help to boost job applications.
Working in a different country exposes you to processes that are a lot different to what you’ve previously been used to. A new environment can also help us to adapt our existing skillset or knowledge base and perhaps learn a better or different way of doing something we hadn’t thought of before. Diversity is what makes us unique, and adding volunteering to your CV can help to make your career stand out.
Many jobs these days are often about ‘who you know, not what you know’, and volunteering can help you to expand your network outside of your home country and across Europe, Asia and Africa, not to mention the connections you’ll make with those also on the trip.
You should never underestimate the value a network of likeminded professionals can bring to your career. Not only will you be able to learn vital skills and information from people you otherwise might not have met, you’ll hear about new job openings, and be able use those in charge of your placement as references on your CV.
Dedication to a Cause
Potential employers like to see dedication in job applications and there’s no better way to show that than through a volunteer placement. Volunteering can help to show that you’re willing to dedicate yourself and your time to a particular cause, which benefits someone other than yourself.
During your time on a placement you’ll be able to soak up every part of the working environment you’re in and immerse yourself in a culture which is often vastly different to what you’re used to. Volunteering tests what you know and pushes you to think outside the box, something which you often don’t get pushed to do once you’re in full time employment.
Builds your CV
Interviews are granted on what an A4 sheet of paper says about you, and with the job market as competitive as ever, you need to stand out from the crowd in order to get past the first round. Qualifications are important, not to mention essential, when it comes to gaining a job in the medical profession, but volunteering can also help to show how you’ve put your skills into action in the real world.
Many interviews are based on competency based questions, which means you’ll need to provide examples of when you’ve put a particular skill to use, or succeed at a particular situation. Volunteering can provide real world experience and give you the opportunity to draw on your experiences abroad.
New Cultures and Languages
Working in the medical sector you never know what kind of medical emergency or situation you’ll be presented with. Throw into the mix a new culture and language, and you’ll find yourself in a situation where you’ll have to think on your feet, overcome language barriers and be respectful to a new culture.
We live in an increasingly global world, where languages and cultures can blur into one, so learning from those abroad can help to improve your employment prospects greatly. Gaining an understanding outside of your comfort zone, and in a completely different environment can prove you’re willing to do something different in order to better your career.
The first step in your volunteering journey is to decide which project is for you, the next step is career domination.