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This is a guest blog by current student Emily Poulton, studying BA (Hons) Sociology and Criminology.

In January 2018, two other students from my course and I travelled to Malaysia for a month-long placement dedicating our time and efforts working with a small selection of outreach workers from an organisation called AIDS Action & Research Group (AARG). Our aim? To help reduce HIV infection rates.
Throughout the placement, I was closely involved in the everyday movements and interactions of AARG’s outreach workers and their clients. This ranged from attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings to distributing clean needles, visiting methadone clinics, and building a rapport with people in their homes or
rehabilitation centres. One of the main factors which led me to choosing a 20-day placement unit was that I knew I wanted to do a placement and have the skills to help me in future employment, but I didn’t want to take a whole year out of university. My placement gave me a deeper understanding of the global pandemic that is HIV and AIDS. I experienced first-hand the issues that arise for individuals as well as society and learnt to understand the impacts of these. Additionally, I built on my own interpersonal and social skills and the work I underwent immensely supported me in developing my professionalism. It was also a great experience to work in such an amazing part of the world – somewhere I never thought I could visit and can’t wait to return to.

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