2019 Non-local Placement
CHAN Wing Hei, Undergrauate Year 3
Placement agency: 励馨社会福利事业基金会•兰心家园
University is a platform that allows you to connect yourself with the outer world, to widen your horizons, and to reflect on your inner self at a deeper level. In the three months of placement, I left my homeland for the first time to come to Taiwan, a place where I love, and being placed in a social work setting in which I feel interested. In this period, I knew more about myself. Compared to my last placement, I had improved, yet also realized areas that I need to work harder on.
Lots of opportunities were offered for me to explore in this placement, allowing me to get in touch with different kinds of service users and joining different services, such as case interviews, conferences for complicated cases, accomplice for court sessions, and legal consultations. Furthermore, I also participated in the processes of intaking, following, and evaluating cases, which were very helpful for me to holistically understand social workers’ involvement in family violence incidents and their interaction with the client.
Moreover, the social workers and counselors were willing to share their experiences and gave me guidance so that I could have a better understanding of the laws, resources, and handling of family violence cases. During the discussion, I could communicate the differences between Hong Kong and Taiwan with social workers, which facilitated me to have a deeper understanding of the culture of the two cities while thinking about what can the cities learn from each other.
During the placement, I realized that I have good resilience. Since I didn't have a field mate from the same unit, I had to work independently most of the time and adapted to the working environment there on my own. Unpredictably, I did not feel anxious and I comforted my classmates instead. Stepping out of the comfort zone didn't seem hard to me as I could become more proactive. I would like to thank my colleagues for their support and warm welcomes. Their warmness meant a lot to me in terms of helping me to get adapted to the working environment quickly. In addition, with their support, I was not bounded by my role as a student. Considering myself as a worker, I could explore what it feels like to work in a shelter, demanding myself to learn as a worker with high standards.
Meanwhile, I recognized my interest and competence at work concerning women and children as I can emphasize and accept the client, be calm, and react quickly in case of an emergency. Through getting along with clients during the placement, I had expanded my skillsets in communicating and interacting with women and children in particular. Since I have a gentle character, I am not sure when to be harsh, yet I know how to deal with children’s temper now. I can be nice, but also need to be serious and strict in face of rules so that the children can learn to follow the rules.
On the other hand, I saw what I need to improve, such as requiring more training on setting boundaries and rejecting others. In particular, when dealing with kids, I know how to reject their unreasonable demands. Even if their demands are reasonable, they are also rejected when they are raised at inappropriate moments or overdemanding, and I need more learning and training at this. Towards the end of the placement, I tried to establish boundaries with children and to reject them appropriately even when they are smiling at me innocently.
Reminded by my supervisor, I realized that sometimes I expected too much of myself to a point that stresses me out; also, being taken care of by my family well since I was small, my health became weak while I leave home. Therefore, I learned to relax and not to push myself too hard, as well as take good care of my health. As a common saying goes, you must have a healthy body before you can do what you want.
I could still remember my supervisor once said: rather than memorizing the systematic resources in Taiwan, allowing myself to reflect on the social work profession and myself is the most precious lesson in non-local placement. Through opening myself up, making observations, and discussing with colleagues in this placement, not only had I enriched myself but also gained further insights and made reflections on family violence prevention in Hong Kong and Taiwan.