I first heard about ELG through the company that organized my internship. They knew I was a speech pathology student and ELG was the most established firm in Shanghai, so I was placed there.
I spent most of my time working with the Innovative Learning Center (ILC), providing support work and shadowing speech language pathologists. I was also able to observe typical classes during the day and experience the administrative side of the organization. I learned how to write inquiries in the required format, correspond with parents, and prepare documents for meetings. I found this work interesting as I got to witness how crucial administration is to everyday operations.
I didn’t have any expectations going into the experience, but I came away with so much that I can already see impacting my studies. This internship provided me with clinical experience that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I learned how to interact with children from all sorts of backgrounds. ELG has such a diverse environment, with students and specialists from many countries, and it really is unique from that perspective. I also got to witness children taking screening tests and this is something I will be doing this month for assessment at my university. The overall experience will greatly help me with my degree.
One experience that stood out for me was being able to witness an assessment take place on a young boy who the parents and specialists suspected had language delays. I have only ever done assessments on children who are typically developing, and to see the other end of the spectrum was fascinating.
Working with the children in ILC inspired me to want to work with special needs children, as the work is so rewarding. This was something that I had never previously considered before. I learnt how important it is to celebrate the smallest achievements for the children, as they often represent a significant change.
One thing that really surprised me was that I didn’t know how in demand speech pathologists were in China. Because of this need, it means that they are given all sorts of clients that may not necessarily see a speech pathologist in Australia, where I’m from. I found this really interesting as I observed children in China who I won’t get to work with in Australia and I feel that it will only make me a better as a professional because I have seen such a range of cases.
ELG was such a positive and supportive environment in which the focus is on the children and how to support them to reach their goals. Specialists work together and this support makes a difference in how the child is viewed from a holistic perspective. I didn’t expect there to be so much positivity–no matter how severe the child’s diagnosis was, the focus was never on the negative and the work that needed to be done was never seen as impossible
I would tell future interns to be prepared for a really fun internship in a supportive environment. They should also know that because there is such a high demand for therapists in China, you won’t be doing just one particular job; rather, you will be doing a bit of everything and helping everyone out when needed. Being flexible and coming to work with a lot of energy is a must!