Learning to see and hear

Growth: 10
Support: 10
Fun: 10
Housing: 10
Safety: 10

There is a real difference between looking and seeing. Just as there is between listening and hearing.

My internship in a psychiatric centre in Rwanda really let me explore these differences. We can look at mental health care without seeing what it achieves, what is gained, or what is being missed. We can listen to peoples stories without hearing the deeper meaning for that individual. By allowing myself to be immersed in the environment at the centre, in their values, practice and looking and listening beyond the surface to the reasons behind practices and procedures meant I could not only make the most of my learning but also allowed any suggestions or concerns to come from an informed, reflective and ultimately respectful and helpful place.

Equally, I felt that the staff and patients truly saw and heard me. This mutual respect led to an open, collaborative and mutually beneficial learning and practicing environment as well as to friendships that will last a lifetime.

In terms of the GEI team, they always saw if we needed extra support and heard any concerns or feedback we had and worked conscientiously and effectively to resolve any concerns.

Thank you Rwanda, for giving me the opportunity to see and hear all you have to offer during my internship and for opening my eyes and ears to new ways to approach mental health care.

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would
Year Completed
Private Note to Provider (optional)
I do have some photos but they have staff and patients in them I had permission to take them (they actually requested them) but I don't have consent for them to be shared online, and considering the amount of stigma and discrimination patients spoke of (wanting to keep the fact they were an inpatient at the centre secret) that exists I'm not sure it's ok to share them? I do have photos of Rwanda and my time there in general if they are any use? I'll attach some and you can decide!

The only improvement I would recommend is for the internship is perhaps a bit more organisation. There was a lot of confusion with staff over my role there and what I should be doing which led to me often having no assigned duties. I used my initiative most days and got a lot out of this, but I this might not be the same for another intern?