Vimbayi Mupazviripo (Zimbabwe)

Vimbayi Mupazviripo, a former legal officer championing the rights of women, remote communities, and prison inmates in Zimbabwe, chose to pursue a Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying) at James Cook University (JCU) to merge her legal background with social work, advocating for global human rights and social justice.

“My experiences in Zimbabwe set the stage, and JCU is sharpening my toolkit.

“I recognised the need for a more holistic approach to social justice. JCU offered an interdisciplinary perspective, with an emphasis on remote and indigenous communities, aligning with my passion for serving marginalised groups. Furthermore, JCU's reputation in this field was a significant draw.”

Reflecting on her time at JCU, Vimbayi highlights various experiences, from spotting kangaroos on campus to embracing Aussie slang.

“Every day at JCU feels like I've hit the jackpot of experiences and learning! The richness of diverse perspectives from faculty and peers has been illuminating. Engaging with real-world scenarios and practical applications has deepened my understanding of social work's potential impact.  Another highlight has been the opportunity to delve into research and strategies that can further drive social justice in our communities.

Vimbayi on placement with clients

Image: Vimbayi on placement with clients at the Townsville Multicultural Support Group

While prepared for rigorous coursework and a diverse community, Vimbayi has been pleasantly surprised by the warmth and abundant student support.

“Between spontaneous island trips post-exams, impromptu BBQs, and the fascinating blend of cultures I've encountered, JCU has truly expanded my horizons. And who would have thought I'd be such a fan of Vegemite toasts by now?”

Encouraging prospective Social Work students at JCU, Vimbayi says:

“If you're seeking an adventure mixed with top-tier education, JCU is your go-to. The faculty's dedication, the hands-on learning opportunities, and the sheer fun of the student life are unbeatable. And if you're from a far-off place like me, trust me, you'll find your second home here. Dive in, and let the JCU wave take you on the ride of your life!

Embrace the journey with an open heart! JCU is not just about books and lectures; it's about life experiences. Join student groups, explore the beautiful Townsville, and don’t skip the local events. The learning is as much outside the classroom as it is inside. Be ready to make friends from all over the world, as the diversity here is gold.”

Vimbayi plans to continue immersing herself in diverse social work practical experiences in Australia, with the ultimate goal of establishing an NGO focusing on marginalised communities, providing both legal and social support.

“Through it all, I'll carry with me the vibrant spirit and innovative lessons I've absorbed at JCU!”