The students of Master of Clinical Psychology programme from International Medical University (IMU), had the privilege of welcoming and hosting students from the Bachelor of Psychological Science programme at The University of Newcastle (UON), Australia, one of IMU’s partner universities for some of its undergraduate studies. The exchange programme began on 25 September 2023, when the UON students visited IMU.
A total of 13 students were on the exchange programme. Throughout their 4-day visit, we had an intercultural networking session, two field trips and a farewell party with the students.
The highlights of the exchange programme were the field trips to Dignity for Children Foundation (DCF), and Malaysian Mental Health Association (MMHA) Rehabilitation Centre.
Dignity for Children Foundation (DCF)
DCF is a non-governmental organisation that provides holistic care and education for underprivileged children. DCF was established in 1998 and has recently celebrated its 25th anniversary.
In DCF, they provide their students with education and teach them skills to prepare them for the working world. In addition to that, they have a welfare department that offers support to families facing financial difficulties. The department also provides mental health support to students through their counsellors and clinical psychologists at DCF. They also have various transformational enterprises, including baking, sewing, and hairdressing, which serve as excellent initiatives to instil vocational skills. Furthermore, these enterprises will offer their students internship opportunities and the opportunity to work at DCF upon graduation.
Our visit to DCF started with a site tour. After the site tour, a detailed presentation about DCF was conducted by the staff and trainees which covered the history, programmes and initiatives offered at DCF. The presentation has given us great insights and helped us to understand DCF’s effort to transform the lives of the children. The students at DCF are equipped with knowledge and skills that prepare them to transition into the professional world. Towards the end of the presentation, a case scenario was shared by the trainees. We had a brief discussion in small groups on how to resolve the issue as a therapist with a child client. We had an engaging time during our visit to DCF.
Malaysian Mental Health Association (MMHA) Rehabilitation Centre
MMHA is also a non-governmental organisation and was established in 1967. MMHA has a rehabilitation centre and The Mind Hub which is the centre that offers psychological services to the public. Some of the services they offer include the wellness and recovery programme (WnRP), caregiver education course and corporate training.
Upon reaching the rehabilitation centre, we began with a role-play activity which was prepared by the MMHA staff. The purpose of the role-play was to help us understand the stages of crisis management. The stages of crisis management consist of four stages, namely pre-crisis, crisis, response and post-crisis. Hence, the role-play was designed according to the stages of crisis management and we were divided into groups to act according to the script. It was an interesting experience, some of the clients from MMHA joined the role-play together with us and they managed to portray their characters well.
To sum up, this was a wonderful experience as we learned about the organisations in terms of their mission, vision and long-term goals in raising mental health awareness. This is certainly an unforgettable experience for all of us since we had the chance to share our cultural backgrounds and knowledge while going on field trips to learn together. It was truly exciting and fruitful to host the UON students on their exchange programme.
Written by Wee Min Xuan