We're so proud to introduce our new Student of the Month, Shirley de Jonge! She enrolled with the Internship Programme back in February and is currently undertaking work experience at Mapledown School in London, a secondary school for children and young people with disabilities. Back in the Netherlands, Shirley studies health and social care at Drethe College. In this letter to ADC, the 18-year-old talks about her journey so far and what she has learnt from the challenge of working and living in a new country.
My name is Shirley de Jonge and at the time of writing I have been in London for three weeks. At home in the Netherlands, I'm in my final year of studying health and social care and I also work with elderly people with disabilities. My plan for the future is to finish my education and then travel the world and work abroad.
My work placement at Mapledown School is a little different from what I normally do as this is the first time I have worked with young people. The students I work with are between 16 and 19 years of age and cope with disabilities such as autism and learning difficulties. Communication is different compared to working with the elderly and I use a lot of sign language. We do one-on-one counselling and every day I’m assigned to a different person, which means I get to know all of them and learn how to work with them. I also spend a lot of time observing my colleagues. It’s a challenge and you have to be patient with the students, but I like it and I learn a lot!
Other than working, I have been sightseeing around the city with my roommate. That has been the best part of my trip! Also, our host family is very nice and bring us around London. We often go out for dinner and they also brought us to the musical Mamma Mia, Wembley stadium and to the cinema. Also, my mum visited me this weekend and that was very nice.
I have always wanted to go abroad for work and this was a great opportunity for me to do that and see the differences between my home country and the UK.
My advice for other students who have the opportunity to take part in the Internship Programme is; go for it! Don't be afraid - this is an experience you don't want to miss. And have a lot of fun too!
Shirley visited London with our Internship Programme, a project eligible for funding from Erasmus+. Now we're also arranging work experience projects in Dublin. Don't hesitate to contact us if you would like more information about what we do and how to get funding. Call a Country Manager today on +44 2084249424 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.