News and events
The perks of being a volunteer: Najma Hassan spends ten ‘life-changing’ weeks in Nicaragua
9 October 2017
Hoping to satisfy her passion for traveling and to gain some hands-on experience that she could use towards her degree, Najma joined Raleigh International, a sustainable development organisation, as part of the International Citizen Service initiative and embarked on a once in a life time adventure.
Alongside other young people from the UK, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, Najma spent ten life-changing weeks in Nicaragua, where she participated in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme in one of the country’s rural communities.
Speaking about the benefits of being a volunteer, Najma said: “This experience impacted me in several ways and since I hope to work in the NGO sector after university, this has allowed me to get my foot in the door. Not only has my confidence improved dramatically, I also gained new skills in leadership and conflict resolution. I am still volunteering with Raleigh International at their main office as an assessor, and it's providing me with a foundation from which to grow.”
During her time in Nicaragua, Najma was involved in organising events and worked in conjunction with local agencies to improve sanitation and hygiene practices within local households and communities. She supported local social enterprises and helped to improve awareness of environmental sustainability practices. Her complete immersion in the local culture and lifestyle also allowed Najma to further her learning of Spanish, increasing her fluency in the language.
“While I had some previous volunteering experience, my ten weeks in Nicaragua brought my appreciation of volunteering to a whole new level. Spending three months in Central America and actually witnessing the positive changes happening right in front of me, was something I could never have imagined,” Najma said.
Acknowledging the big difference that volunteers make, Najma also said: “Volunteers are vital and play a massive role in the success of countless organisations. So whether you have volunteered, you are volunteering or will volunteer, you've done, are doing and will do great things.”
Students can find out about a wide range of volunteering opportunities, offered by various organisations, and meet the exhibitors at the upcoming Volunteering and Work Placement Fair at the Faculty of Science and Technology, which will take place on 11 October.
About the University of Westminster:
The University of Westminster boasts a vibrant learning environment attracting more than 20,000 students from over 150 nations and we continue to invest in our future with new developments, research projects and new ideas.
We offer highly attractive practice-based courses that are independently rated as excellent, many with international recognition. Our distinguished 180-year history has meant we lead the way in many areas of research, particularly politics, media, art and design, architecture and biomedical sciences, and our position in the city of London allows us to continue to build on our close connections with leading figures and organisations in these areas as well as in the worlds of business, information technology, politics and law.
Our commitment to educating graduates for the needs of professional life attracts high quality students from within the UK and around the globe.
Internationalisation, employability and sustainability are key elements in the University of Westminster’s vision for the future and we strive to ensure the very highest standards are met and maintained.