HELPING the community in a practical way is an integral part of the University of Western Sydney's education degree.
Students must complete a unit, Experiential Learning in Communities, which involves working with a charitable or other type of organisation assisting people.
"I want to get students out of their comfort zone and doing real things with real people; not just something for the teacher to mark," associate professor of education at the university Diana Whitton said.
"Education becomes real; they see what happens in the community."
Second year education student Shannon Wilson chose to work for the Exodus Foundation, which provides food for homeless people and help for school children living in poverty.
"I created some pamphlets to get people interested in Exodus and even handed some out," Miss Wilson said.
"Responses from people were good."
She said she had learned much about the plight of homeless people and for herself, had developed valuable communication skills.
Reuben Melendez is also in his second year of teacher training.
He decided to do his Experiential Learning unit with Achieve Australia, which helps people with disabilities gain employment and integrate into society.
"I'm part of a group; our role is to spend time with people with disabilities, get to know them and record their experiences," Mr Melendez said. "I chose this because I had never worked or interacted with people with disabilities before. I saw it as an opportunity to challenge myself.
"The community should realise they're people like us; who have stories, needs and desires, like us."