MPH, MBA, BSW, MSW, Marketing, Language, Teaching/ Education, Public Policy, Accounting, Financial planning, IT development and design, social media – whatever interests you the most, please, consider joining our team!! We don’t want you to file papers, we don’t need you to conduct file reviews. What we want most is your talent, your time and your great ideas – ideas that help BIAS become the best resource for undeserved communities statewide.
As part of my Master of Social Work (MSW) concentration practicum, Bilingual International Assistant Services (Bilingual International/ BIAS) wasn’t just an internship with some tasks and deadlines, it was a daily reminder that the amount of productivity and professional development I would receive would be entirely dependent on how proactive I was. BIAS is an agency that I can look back and say with confidence that if one actively seeks out opportunities and ways to contribute to the work environment and the staff, then not only will they cultivate mentors and professional skills, but they will also learn effective ways to navigate the region to collaborate and network with other resourceful providers and organizations.
When searching for a practicum site, I was interested in sites that provided services to the immigrant population or an agency that advocated for access to professional services on behalf of immigrants, especially the Asian American population. Thankfully, I found one that did both and so much more. Likewise, I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of programs that BIAS was able to provide, such as health, mental health, citizenship, ethnic-specific senior groups, and interpretation to name a few. Specifically, BIAS allowed me the opportunity to earn rapport with both clients and other service providers in St. Louis, which was a new and unfamiliar region for me. In areas where my basic case management skills lacked, other staff members were quick to provide constructive acknowledgement and constructive criticism, both aspects of my internship that I was grateful for. As an intern, you want to be in an agency that not only gives heed on what areas that need improvement, but also shows you how to improve them. Hence, I was most grateful for my supervisor and staff members who guided me through basic and complex situations as I managed a group of clients, from which I learned the most.
Another aspect that I really appreciated about the organization was that the staff members were as diverse as the clients they served. The multicultural environment inspired me to ask questions regarding cultural beliefs and values, which is a practice that social workers are obligated to do as we serve extremely diverse populations. As aforementioned, the amount of responsibility that you take to seek out opportunities at Bilingual International will lead to establishing the necessary skills for future careers. BIAS was a stepping-stone for me into the field of social work and since then my interest in working with and researching about the immigrant population has expanded. I was glad that an agency like Bilingual International existed to cater to the Asian American population, such as the Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean elderly and hope that there will be an increase in the discussion of Evidence Based Practices for the Asian American population regarding access to and utilization of mental health and social services.
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