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Sarwan Rahu (Pakistan)

Deciding to study Social Work at James Cook University (JCU) wasn't just a choice of course; it was a calling rooted in my experiences growing up in a village in rural Pakistan. Surrounded by social inequalities and injustices, I felt a deep desire to understand and address the root causes of these issues. That's when I discovered the power of critical social work and its potential to make a real difference in the world.

What drew me to JCU's Social Work program was its reputation for nurturing not just academic skills, but also critical thinking and self-reflection. I knew that to be an effective social worker, I needed more than just theoretical knowledge; I needed practical skills and a deep understanding of the complexities of modern society.

My time at JCU has been nothing short of amazing. Every day feels like a new adventure, filled with learning and growth. The hands-on workshops, insightful guest speakers, and visits to social work organisations have given me a deeper insight into the field. But it's not just about the academics; JCU's location in Townsville, with its beautiful natural surroundings and vibrant community, has made my university experience truly unforgettable.

One of the most surprising things about studying at JCU was how inclusive and supportive the program is. Despite not having a background in social work, I found the coursework accessible and engaging. The program starts from the basics, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their background, can excel with dedication and a willingness to learn.

Would I recommend JCU's Social Work program to others? Absolutely. What sets it apart is its focus on personal growth. Through introspection and guidance from experienced faculty, I've not only gained knowledge but also a deeper understanding of myself and my role in creating positive change.

To future Social Work students at JCU, my advice is simple: embrace the journey. Step out of your comfort zone, ask questions, and make the most of every opportunity. JCU is more than just a university; it's a community where diversity is celebrated, and every experience is a chance to learn and grow.

My placement at the Queensland Injectors Health Network (QuIHN) was eye-opening. Working with individuals facing challenges related to Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD), I learned the importance of empathy and non-judgmental support in social work practice.

Sarwan Rahu on placement

Image: Sarwan Rahu on placement

Looking ahead, my goal is to focus on the well-being of marginalised children and, in the long run, work with the Australian Defence Forces to support veterans. It's a journey that I'm excited to continue, armed with the knowledge and skills I've gained at JCU.

In conclusion, my time at JCU has been a transformative experience that has prepared me not just for a career but for life. It's a journey that has taught me the value of empathy, the power of knowledge, and the importance of embracing every opportunity that comes my way.