Mpho Sibanda, MSc Social Work
Mpho wanted to forge a career where she would be able to help some of the most vulnerable people in society
To her, Social Work appeared to be a perfect fit. "As I love working with people and helping them, especially those who are marginalised and disadvantaged in society, Social Work seemed the natural path to take. Furthermore, seeing people, young or old making positive changes in their lives and striving for a better future is priceless."
Loving London life
Mpho was drawn to LSBU on a friend's recommendation who made her aware of the good work-life balance students can enjoy. "A close friend of mine graduated last year from South Bank and spoke highly about her time here. She always seemed to have a good time and said the academic and social life was good. The location was also a bonus as South Bank is situated in central location within easy reach of most destinations in and around London."
Keen to try new things, and always on the lookout for exciting and adventurous activities, Mpho tries to make the most of the many things to do in and around London. "I regularly swim and go to the gym and I'm hoping to enter one of the advertised mini-marathons next year. I am a big fan of Latin American culture so I love going to salsa functions and improving my salsa moves. I'm really excited about flying lessons that I hope I will start next year in a small light aircraft or helicopter. I'm an adrenalin junkie!"
Favourite study areas
Although Mpho enjoys the social benefits of living in London, it is studying MSc Social Work that is her real passion. "The academic support is certainly of a high calibre and it amazed me how multi-faceted the course is in terms of core texts as we cover Law, Psychology, Politics, and Sociology just to name but a few subject areas."
Mpho found all the academic aspects of the course thoroughly enjoyable, but in particular enjoyed Critical Perspectives on Human Growth and Development. This focuses on the biological and psychological changes that occur in human beings from birth through to old age. Her favourite section looked at the social, cognitive, emotional, and educational development of children. It is clear that to Mpho, Social Work is more than just a career path – it is something she genuinely enjoys studying. She believes this is helped by the small class sizes, and as many students are mature students, there's a strong focus and team-spirit that brings out the best in the group.
Best experience ever
However enjoyable and worthwhile Mpho found the academic aspect of study, just as important in Social Work are placements. Currently, Mpho is at her first placement at an Inner London Primary school four days a week working with children with complex emotional and behavioural needs. Working with a variety of professionals such as: psychotherapists, educational psychologists, teachers, social workers, speech and language therapists, students get to see different perspectives on treatment.
Finding this approach enjoyable and beneficial as it links theory to real life practice, Mpho added that, "learning on the job is the best experience ever, so that by graduation you aren't chucked in the deep end but have experienced the breadth and diversity that Social Work offers. We get to work with different clients from varying sectors such as Children and families, Mental Health, Learning disabilities to name but a few and you can just imagine each experience is so different, challenging at times but very rewarding as well. "Although there are challenges on the job, and there's been a couple of daunting situations, Mpho adds "the support I have received from all these professionals has been fantastic. I now have the confidence to know that when I graduate next year I will have accumulated the necessary skills to practice in any area of Social Work that I may choose to pursue."