Students Peri O'Connor, Ida Griffiths, Maisie Bage and Heidi Burke will travel to Cambodia later this year, visiting University of Puthisastra.
In order to be chosen, the students had to write 500 words answering what they would contribute to the programme and what they hoped to gain from their involvement in it. From those received, four were selected on the basis of their statement by academic staff.
The two week trip will involve visiting student peers at University of Puthisastra, taking part in teaching sessions, contributing to a half day research seminar and visiting various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that the Cambodian students work for. The NGOs address trauma amongst communities that still bear the scars of the Killing Fields atrocities of the 1970's. he students will also visit some of the memorial sites in Siem Reap, northern Cambodia.
Heidi, studying the Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling and Mental Health, said "I was so excited when I heard about the opportunity to go to Cambodia. I have a friend who has lived there, so she has explained the tragic history and I've also researched it - it's heart-breaking. I can't wait to meet the people there, connect with them and exchange ideas that will help broaden my understanding of counselling in different cultures".
Peri, also on the PG Dip course, added, "I am very excited to have been chosen to take part in the trip to Cambodia, especially as I have been interested in Cambodia and the horrific atrocities experienced by its people since being involved in an Oxfam campaign in the early 1980s. I am particularly interested in learning more about trauma and the different ways therapists in Cambodia work therapeutically. I am really looking forward to meeting fellow trainee therapists in Cambodia learning about them, their experiences and perspective on therapy. I hope to understand difference from a first-hand experience which I hope will influence and help my client work".
The collaboration is working both ways, as currently one of the staff from the Counselling course at Puthisastra is in Leeds, taking a PG professional award in supervision with the university.