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Maria supports development of learning platform to strengthen WA health services for multicultural communities

14 July, 2022

An internship at the McCusker Centre for Citizenship saw UWA student Maria Saji contribute 100 hours towards the WA Country Health Service (WACHS), assisting with the development of educational resources to help staff better support people and communities from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds.

“I saw the internship as an opportunity to be challenged and learn more about myself, to meet new people and to make a positive change in someone else’s life,” said Maria, who is studying a Bachelor of Science.

Maria’s internship role at WACHS focused on the development of online learning content that aims to increase staff cultural awareness to strengthen the provision of health services to CaLD communities, which supports the WACHS Workforce Diversity and Inclusion and Multicultural Plans 2021-2024.

“The research aspect of the internship was a great opportunity for me to learn more about CaLD communities and the barriers they face. It was incredibly motivating for me to know that the work I was doing with my WACHS supervisor had the potential to make a lasting impact on the lives of the large population of CaLD individuals” Maria said.

“This was enhanced by the opportunity to collaborate with individuals who had so much knowledge and experience in this area, whose enthusiasm and guidance instilled in me a passion for the project,” she said.

Researching CaLD communities opened Maria’s eyes to the diversity that exists within WA and the benefits that this diversity brings to the broader community.

“Being from a CaLD background myself, I had never really stopped to consider the sheer diversity of cultures and languages around me. It was through this internship with WACHS that I gained a greater appreciation for the local diversity I am exposed to everyday and the contribution growing up in a multicultural environment has had on who I am,” Maria said.

Despite the public sector being a new environment for Maria, she quickly adapted to the role by being adaptable and flexible with her communication skills with the support of WACHS staff.

“This internship was invaluable exposure to the everyday operation of a professional environment. All the people I had the privilege of meeting at WACHS, especially my supervisor, were incredibly welcoming and made me feel like I was a part of the family throughout my internship,” she said.

Maria says she “absolutely” recommends the McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship program to other students.

“I can’t think of a better way to contribute to the community and learn at the same time,” she said.