My volunteering experience in Fiji changed my outlook on everything

Third year BSc Counselling & Mental Health student, George Towse, spent the Summer in Fiji delivering a Mental Health Project to improve the lives of small communities.


George Towse holding a pint of orange juice

In July 2022, George Towse embarked on a journey across the globe to deliver a mental health programme for children and adults in rural Fiji. A placement facilitated by global volunteer group, Think Pacific, George joined 4 other Leeds Beckett students to develop their counselling and mental health support skills in the field.

During his experience, George became a role model in the village after delivering impactful mental health management sessions. He worked with the local community to discuss their thoughts and ideas, adapting sessions to suit their individual needs and suggestions. In his words:

“It’s really changed my outlook on everything. It’s made me think more about how I’m portraying myself. [I] make sure I’m acting in a way that sort of leads by example.”

The experience was further enriched by the friendships made with the community and fellow volunteers. George learned about Fijian culture, built relationships with volunteers from across the world, and gained a new appreciation for his privileged life in Leeds.

To undertake this experience, George received support from our School of Health Counselling, Psychotherapy and Mental Health team, and the International Office.

“It was an amazing opportunity. There was a lot of funding from my university. I was very lucky because without that I wouldn’t have been able to do something like this.”

When asked about what advice he would give to future volunteers, George offered words of encouragement: just go for it.

“It’s important for us to provide global experiences for our students in many different ways. This is because the evidence shows that graduates who have engaged in such activity are more likely to gain work and start on a higher salary than their peers and also have advanced ‘soft’ skills such as taking responsibility, an ability to quickly engage with diverse people/communities. In other words, they have more to offer an employer, and of course we hope they have had a thoroughly enjoyable life-changing time too!” - Chris Hudson, Head of Subject.

George Towse with fellow volunteers and fiji community members

Why Study Counselling & Mental Health at Leeds Beckett:

  • To have a real, positive impact on local and global communities.
  • To explore a range of theories in psychology, mental health, counselling, child development, and psychotherapy in order to best help individuals.
  • To study the relationship between theoretical knowledge and practice to build effective, supportive, and empathetic working relationships.
  • To explore how mental health issues develop across the lifespan and how you can make an impact.
  • To have opportunities and support towards professional practice and growth.