After qualifying as a trained psychologist, Alzira chose to follow her passion into a career as a social worker so she could advocate on behalf of refugees and immigrants.
My passion has always been to work with refugees and immigrants, but I found that my bachelor degree in psychology was not sufficient to get the job I wanted. I found psychology a little too rigid and I was not fulfilled in my profession, but then a colleague noticed my social activist streak and introduced me to social work. Since commencing my Master of Social Work I’ve never looked back.
I’ve found RMIT’s program to be more flexible than what other universities offer. One of the most important skills I’ve learnt so far is advocacy and self-reflection – I’ve been able to build my cultural competency and comprehend the structural disadvantages, racism and discrimination most ethnic minorities encounter on a daily basis.
When I got to RMIT I joined some of my fellow international students in the social work international cluster group, where we meet up to discuss our work and help each other with our concerns. A year into the program these amazing individuals have become like a second family.
The skills I learnt in class helped me work with refugees and immigrants when on placement. I now have the ability to integrate theory and practice once I enter the workforce as a social worker, and I will also be able to use the great networks I’ve built during my degree.
I am currently completing my final placement at Anglicare. I’m really enjoying it because I am constantly being challenged – there has never been a dull day! My greatest achievement so far has been seeing incremental positive changes in my clients’ lives regardless of their circumstances. That is the most gratifying part of the experience.
Social work has helped me reflect on who I am as a person, and discover that I have a passion for working with ethnic minorities and disadvantaged families. It also helped me further develop empathy and compassion for those who are voiceless.