Student stories: volunteering while you study abroad
International Volunteers Day has been held on the 5th of December every year since it was established by the United Nations over 30 years ago, in 1985.
It’s a chance to celebrate people who make a difference locally and globally by giving up their time to help worthy causes.
Once you arrive in the UK, there are loads of volunteering opportunities available to help prepare you for a career in health or medicine.
Reeja from South Africa
In my final two years of high school I did a lot of volunteering.
Having these experiences before starting the International Foundation, helped me to develop my time management skills.
These skills are essential when going into a university environment. Especially when your parents and teachers aren’t around to keep you on track.
You have to become responsible for your own education.
Volunteering isn’t just about filling up your CV. It’s about giving back to society and gaining life skills too.
I spent time in a children’s orphanage, teaching kids how to read and write. I also cared for and counselled the children. Being empathetic and understanding was really important.
I absolutely adore children, and I loved helping them to learn and develop.
When choosing how to volunteer, my advice for you is do something that excites you and you’re passionate about!”
Shubhechha from India
Volunteering can be one of the best parts of college life, and it has the potential to completely change your perspective on society.
Back at home, in India, I volunteered at a Non-Government Organisation, which works to alleviate underprivileged women.
I was made aware of the poor conditions that people live in, and the ways they have to live to sustain their lives.
After arriving in London, I volunteered as an Art Centre guide at the Battersea Arts Centre.
I was involved in an exhibit of immigrants from all over the world, who shared their own life stories with the public.
It was a heart-wrenching experience hearing about the sad situations these people had been through and how each individual dealt with them.
As an International student, the opportunity to work with native English speakers helped me improve my language skills, make new friends and boost my confidence.
Experiences like these are extremely humbling and inspiring in a way that makes you aware of how fortunate you are.
As a health-care professional, it’s important to be able to relate to all sorts of backgrounds.
Volunteering gave me the opportunity to have a first-hand go at it.
Kirstin from the UK talks about volunteering
Kirstin works at INTO, tells us:
Volunteering is a great way to broaden your experience and skills. You also have the chance to learn something new about yourself, make a difference, and make new friends.”
Want to study medicine? Check out these courses: International Foundation in Pharmacy, Health and Life Sciences at INTO Univeristy of East Anglia, International Foundation in Biological and Biomedical Sciences at INTO Newcastle University or International Foundation in Science and Engineering at INTO Manchester.