I could talk forever about all the great experiencesMarch 25, 2022
Internship Period: September 2022 – January 2023
I study social work in Germany, and I always knew I wanted to have some sort of international experience during my bachelor’s degree. A friend of mine told me she was considering doing her 5 month internship in New Zealand – and with that, the adventure began!
From the first Zoom call on, Mia was friendly, professional, and supportive. Together we worked through a mountain of German paperwork to get everything settled and figured out what the best placement for me would be. My opinion, interests and professional goals were always the main point of consideration for Mia.
The centre I was placed in offers daytime support for adults with intellectual disabilities. I had already gained some experience in this work field, so I was more than excited to get to not only deepen them but also draw comparisons between my experiences in Germany and those I would be able to make in New Zealand.
During the first week of the internship, we had a very elaborate introduction week. We learned many important things about what our future duties might entail, about the ethics and morals that Spectrum Care goes by, as well as a de-escalation training and a first aid course.
My work experience at my placement at Spectrum Care was interesting and fun, although not lacking challenging and difficult moments. Me and my fellow two interns were eased into the job and I really felt like I had the space to grow into my new role. I got to know the people we supported and did my best to learn to accommodate their needs and support them during their programs.
The other workers were friendly and helpful, supporting us to find our footing in the organisation. I entered the Internship with very clear goals set for myself, some of which I managed to reach within the first few weeks. Whenever challenges came up during work, I was able to see different styles and approaches taken by my coworkers, some of which I hadn’t thought of before. Being able to discuss these situations with Mia afterwards always helped me to clarify my own approach. Spectrum Care puts a big emphasis on a person’s individuality and freedom to choose for themselves. I had a great time supporting the people at my placement. It was very different to the work I had done and seen with people with intellectual disabilities in Germany and I know this experience has broadened my professional and personal horizon.
We had regular group supervision sessions with Mia and her team as well as individual supervision, which were always enriching and thought-provoking. They gave us room to explore moral and ethical questions in a judgement-free space. Mia’s input was always intelligent and backed up by her many years of professional experience. These conversations were a valuable part of my experience, and helped me shape my very own professional identity just as much as the work experience did.
In my time off, I loved exploring the beautiful nature in and around Auckland. I deepened my love for surfing and the ocean. Wherever you go in Auckland, there is a good chance you’ll catch a glimpse of the sea along the way. I also grew a big fondness for the wildlife, getting to know many new kinds of beautiful birds, and was always excited to run into Pūkekos, Tuis or Rosellas. This entire experience helped me to figure out what kind of social worker I aspire to be and led me closer to that version of myself.