A French student in training as social service worker (social work), I learned with joy that my training courses allowed me to take part in an internship abroad. This struck me as an opportunity that would bring me both professional and personal experience thanks to the discovery of another culture and different practices.
In choosing locations, I was quickly brought to Quebec because they had a major asset, francophonie! Indeed, this internship requires getting very involved very quickly. It therefore seemed important to go to a country where language wouldn't be a barrier. What's more, I was drawn in by the fact that it was in North America. I had a desire to get out of Europe to discover a culture that is radically different from French culture and learn more about Canada.
But Quebec was also chosen for professional reasons. This internship was specifically about social intervention of collective interest. The goal was to develop my professional practices as well as work in a group setting such that the people we are accompanying can reach their personal goals through collective approaches. However, in Quebec, the Group Social Work is a much more developed practice than in France. An internship in Quebec therefore seemed like a great idea!
I have always wanted to do a 6-month internship in the field of social reintegration because it is an essential element of our practice of social aid, one of the principle missions being to prioritise the autonomy of individuals, which requires social integration.
Then, the issue of drug addiction treatment also interested me because such are situations that we can face very regularly as a professional: addictive behaviours often go hand in hand with precariousness, isolation...
Finally, if Vilavi was to be deemed an interesting internship setting for me, it would also be because of the fact of the biopsychosocial perspective, combined with a therapeutic, community treatment environment. These two points correspond with my intership goals.
What were the difficulties?
The difficulties that I was confronted with had to do with above all, obtaining my Canadian Visa! These are actually rather long and complicated processes that can be very expensive. Thus, it's a good idea to start early and hold on tight!
But traveling to a foreign country for an internship isn't all rosy: in addition to distance from loved ones, it is necessary to maintain communication with the school in order to meet the expectations for my State Diploma. One must do some true intellectual gymnastics so that everything learned here can meet the expectations of my training.
What about balance?
A few weeks before the end of my internship, after more than 6 months spent at Vilavi, I can affirm that all my objectives have been achieved, whether professional or personal.
L’accueil sans faille de l’équipe de Dianova, l’autonomie et la liberté d’initiatives m’ont permis d’apprendre énormément, d’évoluer, de grandir et de construire ma propre identité professionnelle.
Immersion in a different culture, with different practices, has broadened and enriched my view of the world. Being away from my daily environment, my loved ones or even living a way of life different from mine has allowed me to gain autonomy and independence.
I got the chance to live an unforgettable experience!