Nollaig Hulme, Project Leader with SERVE and UCC student

When you were small, what did you want to be as a grown-up?

I wanted to be a vet, as did most other people my age I would guess.


Tell us about your career progression to your role today:

After my month spent volunteering with SERVE in Beira in Mozambique in 2018, I knew I wanted to work more with them and applied to become a project leader. I led the group which went out to work in Hai Duong Province in Vietnam working with CSDS in July 2019 and this summer I will be returning to where it all began in Beira leading volunteers in July 2020!

What is the most enjoyable aspect of what you do?

The people you get to meet along the way. Not just other volunteers but the amount of people from different walks of life you get to meet while on placement. For example, when I was volunteering in Beira, Mozambique in 2018, we had the opportunity by chance to meet a man from America who had set up an orphanage for boys near to where we were working with Young Africa.

What motivates you?

What motivates me is the fact that I know I am lucky to have the things and the privilege that I do, so I should avail of every opportunity that comes my way as a lot of others are not as lucky as me.

What advice would you give your 15 year old self?

Leave your comfort zone.

What is your greatest life or career achievement to-date?

Volunteering with SERVE in Mozambique in 2018 as it changed my life is so many ways and opened up so many possibilities. It is also where I have had the opportunity to meet so many incredible people.

Who has had the biggest influence on you in your life?

My dad because he inspires me to volunteer. When I was in secondary school, he volunteered with SERVE. Because of his experience, I knew SERVE was the best organisation for me to volunteer overseas with.

What is the life dream now?

I would love to be able to continue working with SERVE or organisations like it. To continue working overseas in international development would be my dream job.

How do you switch off?

By reading a good book in the evening.

What is your favourite Cork memory?

I have some very fond memories of the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival. The atmosphere for the whole weekend is incredible. Everyone is out in the streets enjoying the music and each other. It’s an incredible weekend and definitely something worth visiting cork for.

What is your favourite place in Cork?

I love to meet friends for coffee. One of my favourite places to get coffee is Cork Coffee Roasters, there’s a great atmosphere and the coffee is great. I love to walk through the English Market also.

Do you have a favourite quote or motto?

It’s ‘Life begins at the end of your comfort zone’. A friend said this to me when I was making a difficult decision and I feel like it very much applies to my time spent with SERVE.

It seems daunting to go somewhere very far away and immerse yourself in a culture so different to your own but sometimes you need to be courageous enough to leave your comfort zone and find out what makes you a better person from leaving it.

When are you at your happiest?

I am at my happiest when I am spending time with my friends.

Any regrets?

Not yet!

What is your hidden talent?

I can say the alphabet backwards

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

Have a look at SERVE website and learn about their work. SERVE is a development and volunteering organisation committed to tackling poverty in the majority world.