Leeds Trinity University has seen its first group of students travel abroad since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A group of 22 students recently travelled to Fiji with Think Pacific – a global volunteering project which sees participants work alongside Fijian communities on local initiatives.
The trip was made possible by funding from the Turing Scheme – a new student mobility programme introduced by the UK government to support international study, work and volunteering opportunities for the 2021-22 academic year.
Leeds Trinity received a significant grant from the scheme last year, part of which has been used to cover travel and living costs for students going to Fiji.
Whilst in Fiji, students have contributed to building work at a village health centre and took part in indigenous cultural exchange workshops.
Maia Sule, International Placement and Study Abroad Officer at Leeds Trinity University, said: “We are absolutely delighted to see the first group of students go abroad since the beginning of the pandemic. It has been a difficult two years for our international programmes and heartbreaking not to be able to support students who were keen to engage with these.
“Global engagement is key to building skillsets which help our graduates succeed in the everchanging world. Think Pacific’s ethical community volunteering projects are also instrumental in supporting the social justice framework that is aligned to the University’s core values and Strategic Plan.
“We are grateful for the support that the UK’s new mobility programme, the Turing Scheme, provides so that our global opportunities are accessible for all students.”
Samuel Wright, Sports Journalism student at Leeds Trinity University, said: “Fiji is a fantastic experience and I would recommend any student to go for the opportunity.
“Travelling to the other side of the world and getting to learn about a new culture has been so fascinating. It is a truly beautiful country and the people are extremely welcoming and friendly. The entire experience has helped me grow as a person.”
Nigel Scott, Director at Think Pacific, said: “Think Pacific has been working with Leeds Trinity University since 2016. We are thrilled that our first few projects since relaunching post-travel restrictions include Leeds Trinity students.
“The students have been working on projects in rural areas of Fiji on behalf of government ministries, supporting the achievement of the Fiji National Development Plan and UN Sustainable Development Goals. They are helping to bridge the gap between local partner initiatives and rural communities.
“As part of their volunteering work, students were either in Vunaqoru Village in the Nadroga Province or Malake Village in the Ra Province. Whilst living with host families, each day they have engaged in indigenous cultural exchange workshops or contributed to a very unique building project. The project they have worked on is a village health centre, which has been highlighted by the Ministry of Health as a key initiative to empower the community health worker and provide basic clinic services with access to medications and consultations.”
For more information about study, work and volunteer abroad opportunities, visit the Leeds Trinity University website.