Martha’s Australian Adventure

Posted on the 5th October 2018

Martha Child volunteered with Lattitude in January – July 2018. She was placed at YMCA Lady Northcote Recreation Camp in Australia. Here she tells us about her time  away and the impact it has had on her life post-placement.



On my placement I worked for five days a week with work times averaging on 0830-1700. Three days a week the work involved helping out with activities such as canoeing, high ropes, mountain biking. This also included setting up, helping and sometimes leading the activity and packing up. Once a week I would work with the kitchen staff, preparing food, serving the kids, and washing dishes. On the other day of the week, I helped the maintenance team, supporting them in running the camp.

Everyone on camp was really enthusiastic in making sure we were happy and learning and experiencing as much as we possibly could in 5 months. It was an amazing feeling to be so included and allowed me to settle in quickly. It was great to see how passionate they were about their country. My placement partner and I felt embedded in the Australian lifestyle. As a volunteer, everyone is fairly aware that this is (for most people) your first expedition away from home. Everyone was sympathetic towards this and when I returned home, I had an additional family back in Australia. I found Australia and the UK had many similarities which made the transition easier. I saw that the Australian way of life seemed to be a lot more laid back which made working there great as everyone was so relaxed. Furthermore, there was a lot of Australian slang that all the staff were very excited to teach us, and it felt like we learnt a new word or phrase every day!

I learned many things on my placement, most importantly how to speak confidently in front of a group. I also learned how to work well in the kitchen, and through working in maintenance and activities teams, I understood how teamwork is a necessary factor in keeping this particular organisation running coherently. Without all teams co-operating, the camp would not have been kept run so fluidly and I found it was quite an eye-opener in terms of how important teamwork is in a working environment.  I think that now I’ve returned home, despite Australia and England being fairly similar, I now approach both social and professional interactions in a more relaxed manner and rather than getting flustered when a problem arises, I try and deal with it in a more composed way.

I am currently at university studying English. I am desperate to go back to Australia! After doing a placement with Lattitude I am interested in working in the gap year sector, and am also looking into the possibility of teaching. I received a bursary to help me fund my placement and it was the deciding factor in whether I could go or not. After receiving the bursary it not only meant I could now go to Australia, but it also motivated me to work harder and get as much money as possible together so I could experience as much as I could whilst I was over there.

Overall it was an amazing experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

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