2019 Non-local Placement
LUO Chen, Part-time MSSc Year 2
Placement Agency: Rotary Family Service Center
My placement with the Rotary Family Service Centre (RFSC) was intense, fun and fruitful. I had opportunities to handle or sit in on cases of various clients, to run a program that benefited low-income families, to participate in assorted meetings with different stakeholders and to involve myself in many thought-provoking internal events. There was so much to learn from the agency that I had to curb my curiosity at times to concentrate on my principal assignments!
In one of my principal case assignments, I was encouraged by my supervisor to embark on a self-study of narrative therapy with the spirit of learning by doing. As the RFSC required placement students to be accompanied by a social worker while conducting case interviews, every session was also a live supervision session. It certainly created pressure at first, but it soon turned into a solid basis for feedback and guidance that made the supervision more conducive to my learning. While struggle and joy co-existed, every session invariably stimulated deep reflection. I remain grateful for the autonomy and trust I received from my supervisor.
My colleagues at the agency were friendly and supportive. They offered us as many opportunities as possible to tag along and observe their practice. We witnessed how they helped clients with various difficulties such as hoarding disorder, major depression, schizophrenia, intellectual disability, family violence, parenting stress, financial inadequacy, housing issues, unemployment and so forth. It truly gave us a broad view of the clientele that the agency serves. In addition, as social workers of the RFSC have different specialised skills We were able to see the strengths of different intervention approaches as we learned from different colleagues. It was eye-opening and inspiring.
Famous for its ethnic diversity, Singapore provided a context where I experienced the importance of appreciating different cultures and how such differences might shape the role of the social work profession. I worked daily with Chinese, Malay and Indian colleagues, and I was continually impressed by their cohesion and mutual care. I also served clients from various cultural and religious backgrounds and was humbled by their distinct challenges and by my ignorance. While my lack of cultural knowledge made me nervous at times, the support and sharing so generously offered by colleagues around us transformed such experiences into valuable opportunities for growth. Working at this centre offered me a true sense of inclusion.
Living and dining in Singapore was also memorable. I have begun to miss the days when I could easily purchase inexpensive yet tasty food from the hawker centre and then enjoy it in an airy deck space (the ground floor of HDB blocks). I also enjoyed strolling around the city or taking a bus as the green view of this “garden city” is fascinating. Some colleagues were kind to offer to be my weekend tour guide so that I had a more local perspective of life there. Of course, one can explore a lot more about Singapore if he or she intends to with abundant resources online.
Overall, I enjoyed my placement thoroughly! The experience was both professional and personal. I feel fortunate to have had such a fruitful summer in Singapore.
Cultural tour by Indian colleague
Cultural tour by Malay colleague
Local placement student became our third fieldmate
Farewell sharing with colleagues