International community-based work placements for UK psychology undergraduates: An evaluation of three cohorts' experiences
Psychology Learning and Teaching
York St John University, York, United Kingdom; University of KwaZulu, Natal, South Africa
In the UK, current governmental discourse is placing growing pressure on psychology programmes to demonstrate the development of students' employability skills in an increasingly globalised world, and work-based learning is gaining currency. Many psychology students are motivated to do community-based work, prompted by their desires to contribute to social justice. The authors' purpose in this article is to explore UK psychology students' experiences of community-based work placements in two African contexts. Drawing from data collected from three cohorts of students at the debriefing stage of their studies, they illustrate the richness of the students' learning. Students reported having their cultural preconceptions challenged and the deepening of their cross-cultural awareness. The experiences had an emotional impact on them, and many students reported their desires to help others and the influence on their future planning.