Eden Miles worked three days a week, from February to July, 2023, during her student placement with Advance Diversity Services (ADS). She says she being part of many experiences helped her gain a wealth of knowledge about working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities and accessing the services that are available to support them.

Eden Miles says her placement enhanced her cultural understanding, inclusive practice and interpersonal skills.

What drew you to do your student placement with ADS?

I wanted to do my student placement with ADS to understand the experiences and challenges newly arrived migrants and refugees face during their settlement journey in Australia. Prior to this placement I had little experience working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities and little knowledge about the services that were available to support them.

What are you studying and where? And how has your personal history and/or your cultural background informed your work with ADS?

I am currently studying my Bachelor of Social Work at Wollongong University. Having a background in early childhood education, allowed me to come into this placement with a transferable skill set. I feel this background provided me with the ability to work in a team environment, identify strengths and find solutions.

What ADS programs have you assisted with and how have you been encouraged to apply your studies and/or expand your skills in your role?

While on placement at ADS, I have worked in the Settlement and Community Team. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of many different programs and events.  I assisted with the multicultural conversational English classes each Monday, assisted at community sessions and events and I was also primarily involved in ADS’s Specialised and Intensive Services with individual case management.

What has been the most challenging work you have done with ADS during your time as a student on placement?

It was difficult at times to hear the trauma clients have undergone in their country of origin and during their settlement journey in Australia.

What strengths have you brought to your placement?

The strengths I brought to my placement involved active listening and my willingness to engage. This has allowed me to be a part of many experiences and gain a wealth of knowledge.

Eden Miles (right) says she is grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of many different programs and events. 

What has been your proudest moment, greatest achievement, deepest connection in your time at ADS?

I could not pick one moment, but being a part of client successes has been amazing. This involves seeing clients access suitable housing, being approved for financial support and navigating complex systems such as accessing education, health and visa issues. Also, being a part of the different workshops and events, which bring such joy to the community.

‘Be You With Us’ is ADS’s tagline, and it reflects the organisation’s commitment to welcoming and accepting everyone of all ages, gender, culture, sexuality, and religious beliefs. How have you been encouraged to ‘Be You With Us’ during your time with ADS?

I was always encouraged to be myself, share my thoughts and ideas. From the beginning I was made to feel like I was a part of the team.

What more should the Australian Government be doing to welcome migrants and refugees and to ensure they find the support they need to adjust quickly and well to life in Australia?

The Australian Government should allocate more funding into settlement and community services to ensure the continuation of adequate support and additional services can be offered for all migrants and refugees to improve their individual wellbeing and community engagement. 

What is your ultimate goal and how has the work you’ve done with ADS equipped you for what you would like to do next?

I am unsure of my ultimate goal at this point in my journey, however my experience at ADS has allowed me to develop knowledge and skills that have equipped me for my social work career. During this time, I have enhanced my cultural understanding, inclusive practice and interpersonal skills which will be valuable for my future.

Please finish this sentence: I love ADS because … of the extremely supportive team and their passion to build and connect culture and community.