Media centre

International placements provide humbling and emotional experience

11 March 2019 @TeesUniNews

 

A Teesside University student who spent five weeks working with impoverished communities in Peru has said the experience has completely changed her outlook on life.

Jess Hall worked in a special educational needs school in Kuala Lumpur.
Jess Hall worked in a special educational needs school in Kuala Lumpur.

Third year Law student Mel Wakenshaw visited the area of El Porvenir, through the University’s International Work Experience Programme, to help the charity SKIP (Supporting Kids in Peru).

Along with three other Teesside University students and volunteers from around the world, Mel embedded herself in the community, helping with the after school programmes, teaching English to youngsters and facilitating a range of sports sessions for kids. She also helped support the parents, providing information and advice on a range of issues around accommodation, businesses opportunities and voucher schemes.

'The trip really challenged me and it has changed my perceptions of everything – I do not take anything for granted anymore,” explained Mel, 47, a mature student who worked as an Usher at Teesside Crown Court before deciding to pursue a career in Law herself.

'I have never seen poverty like that before, but the people in the community do not know any different and they are enriched and enthused by any new opportunities.

'The whole experience was soul enlightening and it has changed not only my own expectations, but the expectations I have for my granddaughter. It makes you realise just how lucky you are.'

Mel was one of a number of Teesside University students who took the opportunity to volunteer abroad last summer through the University’s International Work Experience Programme.

Early Childhood Studies student Jess Hall, 20, visited Malaysia to work in a special educational needs school in Kuala Lumpur. The school caters for youngsters of different ages and abilities and Jess, who has ambitions to become a primary school teacher, was predominantly responsible for teaching art to the children.

It was very challenging and very rewarding and I was able to use the skills I have learnt during my course in a completely different setting.

Jess Hall

'I have experience of working in schools in England, but this was completely different,' explained Jess.

'It was very challenging and very rewarding and I was able to use the skills I have learnt during my course in a completely different setting.

'I would definitely recommend the International Work Experience Programme at Teesside University. It makes you more aware of what is going on in the rest of the world and gives you the confidence to apply your skills and knowledge in less familiar settings.'

Teesside University’s School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law is currently offering its students the chance to apply for the International Work Experience Programme this year, with placements available in Sri Lanka in June and July. Students will provide English language support, assist with children’s development and take part in community outreach activities.

Laura Goldsack, Principal Lecturer (Partnerships & Placements) in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law at Teesside University, said: 'All of our programmes are designed to incorporate employability skills development alongside the course and we offer a range of work experience opportunities so that students are equipped with both degree level subject knowledge and the practical skills that employers are looking for.

'The International Work Experience Programme is a fantastic opportunity for our students to gain invaluable life and work skills, while applying their knowledge in a multi-cultural environment, making a real difference to the lives of others.'


In the News

International placements provide humbling and emotional experience
North East Chamber of Commerce, online, 12/03/2029
A Teesside University student who spent five weeks working with impoverished communities in Peru has said the experience has completely changed her outlook on life.