By Bree Lutzow, a member of the SkillCorps Indonesia July 2016 team
 
Traveling across the world (10,053 miles to be exact!) has many expectations. You expect to try new foods, see unfamiliar faces, explore new terrain, and be exposed to new cultures. What you may not expect is that those unfamiliar faces do not have unfamiliar problems.
 
One of the first discussions we had with the staff of Hi5 was the challenges they face as clinicians. As we sat on the floor (as is customary) with our legs crossed, we went around and shared our personal experiences with each other.  Some challenges mentioned were gaining confidence in our own implementation of ABA, building a rapport with clients, prioritizing goals, and building healthy and cohesive relationships with fellow staff. Just reading that list, it’s probably difficult to distinguish who had these challenges. Was it the SkillCorps volunteers or the staff of the Hi Centre? Trick question: it was both! Discussing our challenges as a whole group was enough to instill confidence in the Hi5 staff to open up more and continue asking questions and for advice.

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These ladies, who are a 24 hour plane ride away, face the same exact challenges in their practice as we do. The moment we all shook our heads and smiled in agreement, you could see their eyes light up as if they had no idea at all that we are not perfect clinicians. There is no such thing as a perfect clinician just as there is no such thing as one right answer in ABA.  Hearing these women discuss their similar challenges was not only beneficial for them, but beneficial for the SkillCorps team as well.  Everyone agreed building a rapport with a client can be one of the hardest things. I believe building rapport with somebody from the other side of the world speaking an unfamiliar language can be even harder.  Opening up and sharing these things was a way to relate to the staff and create that rapport.  The very next day, rather than a clear divide of staff on one side and volunteers on the other, we were interspersed with each other.  We built a trust and comfort with each other that is often times very hard in one day! Isn’t that indah?!

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