A UNIVERSITY of Chester student who relocated to the UK from Zimbabwe before commuting from West Yorkshire to campus has been praised for her perseverance and work supporting other students.
Rindai Nyemba, who graduated last week from the University of Chester with a Masters in Social Work, commuted to University Centre Warrington while working tirelessly to help fellow international students. Pursuing her career goals involved many hours of travelling and studying alongside looking after her young son with the help of her husband.
She said: "I last engaged in full time study years ago. I always wanted to go beyond an undergraduate qualification, but I was working full time and juggling family life. I reflected on my academic plans as well as future career prospects and I then decided to pick a programme that would combine my passion for supporting people and my desire to obtain a higher qualification. After doing my research I came across the Masters in Social Work that was being offered by the University of Chester and realised that it was in line with my goals."
Rindai travelled to Warrington from West Yorkshire by train with many early starts and late evenings.
"I cannot underestimate the impact of the support and encouragement I received from my family. They encouraged me to keep going, drove me to the train station at odd hours and often supported me with childcare. They always provided emotional support."
Committed to helping her fellow international students, Rindai also found the time to establish and run a Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) social work student support group bringing students together to work through challenges and offer each other advice and friendship.
Rindai produced a report on the group’s activities and after discovering challenges pertinent to international students she met with Social Work England (SWE), the profession’s regulatory body and British Association of Social Workers to highlight the barriers international students in particular face in higher education and social work.
Her work and determination ensured that she completed her Master's degree and has now been offered a role following a successful placement.
Rindai added: "My Masters degree has opened several doors of opportunity. From the day I interviewed for the place to study for my Masters, to the day I received my final transcript in the mail, I was supported by my lecturers, tutors and other departments within the University. They answered my questions and provided guidance that I deemed crucial for an international student."
Mandy Schofield, Deputy Head of Social Work at the University of Chester, said: "Rindai is an exceptional international student who moved thousands of miles with her husband and young son in Jan 2021 to undertake our full time postgraduate two-year programme. Despite having to initially commute from West Yorkshire while the family sought more permanent accommodation and having to find an appropriate school placement for her son, she has shown such dedication and commitment to her studies. She shone on her final 100-day placement so much so that her host local authority decided to seek the required work permit to enable them to employ her.
"Rindai has always worked constructively with staff to advocate for her fellow students. She has been a fantastic ambassador for the University of Chester during her two years of study and we wish her all the best for the future."