Give a brief overview of who you are and what you are studying at the Alliance?
My name is Inca, and I am now in my final year of studying psychology at the University of Warwick.
What was your involvement with the Alliance?
I became involved with the Alliance through TeaMWork. When I came across the TeaMWork internship, I thought it looked like something I'd enjoy but I really wasn't sure what to expect, I also doubted myself and whether I would be successful in attaining the internship. But I applied because I knew I wouldn’t get this opportunity if I didn't apply and put myself out there. During TeaMWork I was part of the student board for which, each week I documented my week and complimented the words with illustrations. In addition, since completing the internship I have continued to work with the TeaMWork leaders and the organisation my team and I worked for.
What did you learn from this experience?
One of the first things I learned is, how to utilise my existing skills and the knowledge I gained from the intercultural training to become the leader of a brilliant group of people. I learned how to effectively engage with all members of the team with help from the intercultural training modules that stated, hearing from everyone equally across the project is vital. For example, when first meeting the group, I was in, it was apparent to me that there were some quieter people and a couple, including myself, who were happy to chat. Straight away I knew this could mean that some people were going to be heard more than others which could lead to us working ineffectively. To try to make sure this didn't happen, I proposed that, before our next team meeting, we randomly pair up to discuss/take note of any thoughts and ideas we each had for the project. At our next team meet we, took it in turns to talk about what we had discussed in our pairs. It was fantastic! Not only did it mean that everyone got to know someone in the team a little better, but everyone's voice was heard.
Another thing I learned from this experience is, to own your differences. Everyone has their perceived strengths and weaknesses. Just because you see an aspect of yourself as a weakness doesn't mean it's a part that you should ignore or bury. The beauty of working in a team is that, if you do not feel you have the expertise, there may be someone who does, or you can work together to overcome the challenge you are facing. Equally, don’t be afraid to utilise your strengths. It’s not a bad thing to be good at something. It is a valuable skill to be able to recognise your strengths and weakness, equally.
What are your future plans?
In the future I hope to become an art therapist. I hope to create spaces where anyone can come and use art materials for free. I hope to trial this in the summer of 2022.
What advice would you offer other students thinking about getting involved with the Alliance?
Interested in an opportunity such as TeaMWork? Go for it! Give yourself a chance and put in an application. If you have any questions, ask them. There is a lot you can learn from others, yourself, and your surroundings. Make the most of what is out there. Even if your application is unsuccessful, you can ask for feedback to help the future you.