Rana Arif

Rana Arif

Rana Arif is a young Waikato graduate who wants to make a difference in the world.

Waikato Students' Union, Director
Waikato Muslim Students Association, Vice President

Rana Arif

In 2021 she completed a Bachelor of Social Sciences at the University of Waikato, majoring in Human Development and Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management.

“I loved it. The three years went by so fast, and everything I studied made sense. Human development gave me a sense of purpose,” says Rana, 21.

In 2022, Rana was named in the YWCA’s 25 under 25 - one of 25 “trailblazing” young women recognised for raising their voices, challenging the status quo and fighting for a fairer Aotearoa.

Rana, who served as Director of the Waikato Students’ Union board and Vice President of the Waikato Muslim Students Association, says studying at Waikato set her up for success.

Her academic and social experiences gave her a solid foundation in understanding human development and how to communicate and work with different people.

“The University became a place of socialising with like-minded people and creating a place where we can do better for the students that are here as well.”

Today, Rana works for multiple projects within Waikato; including as a Youth Innovator for the Waikato Rangatahi Opportunity, a well-being project that aims to increase the number of young people in employment, education and training.

She is also a Project Coordinator for the Te Tiriti in our Language project, an initiative where the summary of Te Tiriti o Waitangi is translated into 14 languages and used as educational resources. She also works as a Youth Program Coordinator and Worker at the Refugee Orientation Centre Trust.

Actively involved with her community, Rana says she does it for the “young girls, or any ethnic or minority group to look at where I’ve been and see that anything is possible”.

Moving to New Zealand from the United Arab Emirates at age 14, Rana initially turned away from her culture to better conform to society’s view of “normal”.

“I was this body that tried to fit the mould everyone else wanted me to be.”

She didn’t wear her hijab (head scarf) for years until just before starting at University.

“The University of Waikato was able to provide a space for me to explore what culture is in terms of my own cultural identity and others. The coolest thing about Waikato Uni is the diversity of its students and that to me was enough to make me feel connected and welcomed.”

Today, Rana is proud of her identity and encourages others to follow suit.

Find out more about Bachelor of Social Sciences.

Rana Arif

Related stories

All stories
All stories