About Catherine...
Catherine Leahy
Rajagiri School of Social Work, India
​​​​​Valerie Hoogstad Scholar Award Recipient 2017
Catherine Leahy is a student at the University of South Australia.
She completed a half year clinical placement at the Rajagiri School of Social Work.
Catherine has written a blog about her time in India. As a seasoned traveller, Catherine talks about
the unforeseeable when it comes to travelling, some of the aspects of field work and working around language barriers, and some of her highlights from her time abroad. Catherine paints a wonderful picture of her time abroad and how she overcame some of the hurdles she faced whilst overseas!
Arriving in India
I confess I’ve been to India 5 times before, so in some ways I was prepared for the intergalactic difference that India represents compared to the Australian culture. However, Kerala is the tame version of India and a good entry point if you have not been before. Also, India is rapidly changing and in some ways, is vastly different to my first visit many years ago. Nevertheless, travelling always brings with it ups and downs and no matter how much research and prior preparation I do there is inevitably something that goes a bit awry...
Getting Settled In

After my arrival at the campus the whole college promptly went on Onam break for a week and I found myself the only one on campus with little food options. However, my prior experience of travel helps me adjust to this sort of situation. I simply booked a hotel in the tourist area, ordered a taxi (well uber is the way to go in Kerala actually) and went off to Fort Kochi for a couple of nights -  plenty of food, information and helpful hotel staff all provided.

Mid-Way and The Things I've Learnt!

I’ve been here 9-10 weeks now. At this point you start to establish some friendships and lots of connections with people.