A PAIR of intrepid students have been awarded scholarships to travel to the other side of the world to volunteer on psychiatric wards and help children.

Final-year psychology students, Imogen Healy, or Stourbridge, and Emily Johnson, of Cinderford in Gloucestershire, will both travel to the Asian country during 2014 to undertake volunteer work alongside psychology professionals.

Miss Healy and Miss Johnson have already been using the knowledge from their degrees by volunteering at UK-based mental health charities during their studies, but both wanted to extend their skills to help on an international level.

Working alongside the charity that organised the programme, SL Volunteers, they will contribute to mental health institutes in the Columbo district.

“I will be on a Psychology-based placement for the duration of my stay, and my timetable will be broken down by days," Miss Healy said.

“I’ll be working with those with Learning difficulties and mental illnesses, and for one day every week I will be based in an 800-bed psychiatric unit, working within the acute, learning disability and occupational therapy units.

“I’ll also be delivering projects to local children and teaching local youths, so it’s a great opportunity to get some real hands-on experience as a psychologist in an international setting – something that will be extremely beneficial in my future career.”

Miss Johnson said she was looking forward to breaking down communication barriers to help further her future career in clinical psychology.

Head of psychological sciences at the university, Dr Tim Jones, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Imogen and Emily, and is testament to the dedication of our students in developing their skill set and helping to realise their career ambitions."

The scholarship given to the students has covered a substantial part of the costs involved, however, Miss Healy said she was still hoping to raise more funds to cover the costs towards to organising charity. She will be walking 36 miles across the Worcester Way in one day in the middle of May and can be sponsored by emailing hea12_10@uni.worc.ac.uk.