YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood

Creating Life-Long Relationships

This month, the Y says goodbye to another graduate social work intern, this time fom Colombia University.  Xin Zhuo has been one of the few students of the International Students Program (ISP) placed at the Y where she received an introduction to social work practice in the United States—including the organizational structures and operation of American social service agencies—and learned about a variety of social welfare issues in this country.

 After coming from her undergraduate studies in China, Xin has had to make many personal adjustments and sacrifices in order to thrive here, studying, working and living in a totally foreign environment.  At the Y Xin has has worked with several pograms , such as the Wien House where she helped her fellow Chinese immigrants to form a community; the Y nursery school  and Beacon summer program. Her warm and empathic personality will be greately missed. Below is a note from Xin about her experiences and thoughts at the Y.” Honestly speaking, this has been a really great work experience here for me since I started my internship at the Y on January 28, 2013. Given that it’s almost the end of my field, I think it is time to write down my thoughts regarding leaving.  Just as I was taught at school and in my supervision sessions, people should try to reflect on their past in a positive way, so they can start a new journey smoothly and successfully. It seems almost impossible for some people, especially those with [difficult] pasts, to delete whatever happened in their lives from their minds. As a result, trauma maybe stays behind and holds back further normal development.My experience at the Y this year provides me with a good opportunity to look back and see what I have done successfully or what I failed. A good bye also means a fresh start , which also gives me a new chance to accomplish what I failed to gain in the past in my next steps.Goodbye to the children in the nursery school- I was happy to observe your progress and growth in classrooms and I will miss you.Goodbye to the Mandarin speaking older residents of the Wien House- I was happy to have built strong connection and rapport with you through establishing a mutual support group for you and I feel you might miss my presence the same way I will miss yours. Hopefully, another Chinese speaking intern could be placed here after I leave.Goodbye to my supervisor- I would definitely miss our supervision sessions, not only because you, Vicki, taught me techniques, skills, such as how to interact with clients, how to run a dynamic group, but it also because you educated me about professional values and ethics like a mentor. You would share some articles, museums or productions related to China with me. I really appreciate it. I am also inspired by your passion through the communication we have. So I am really grateful for the time and effort you have invested in me. Again, in essence, supervision is really a good way for employees to get some guidance so as to do a better job later.Good bye to my colleagues- I feel so lucky to have you all as nice coworkers. I still remember that during the first few weeks here, Janny and Katie, other first year interns, introduced the agency and the neighborhood to me passionately. Francisco is also a very nice colleague to work with, as well as Laura, Karen, Debbie and Deena, which just lets me realized that how important to have supportive colleagues around me. I am very grateful for you.I can feel my growth here, such as increased self-awareness, cultural competency,  professional knowledge. But I am aware that I still have limitations, such as insufficient professional theories and techniques, language problems, some communication problems.To sum up, for me, this is actually my first work experience because I just came to the School of Social Work right after I finished my undergraduate education in China. Such experience really provide me with an opportunity to think about as a social worker what kind of population I can work most effectively with, what kind of population I want to work with, and what kind of population I might be not that comfortable to work with. I am also thinking what kind of work environment I like best and what kind of office atmosphere or colleagues I can work with in a most efficient way. Generally speaking, it provided me with an opportunity to have a deeper understanding about myself toward work. So I want to express my sincere thanks to everyone at the Y for giving me a chance for growth. I will miss you.”

About the Y
Established in 1917, the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood (the Y) is Northern Manhattan’s premier Jewish community center — serving an ethnically and socio-economically diverse constituency — improving the quality of life for people of all ages through critical social services and innovative programs in health, wellness, education, and social justice, while promoting diversity and inclusion, and caring for those in need.

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