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Interested in volunteering? Here's how to do it

19th January 2018 Posted by: Duncan Chisholm - Editor

VOLUNTEERING while at university as an international student could well be one of the most rewarding things you've ever done. 

Taking some time to give back to causes you care about isn't simply about making sure you're doing your bit - you're also going to meet people you share a cause with, perhaps get involved in teamwork and you can go away knowing that putting your hand up to help out has been a great use of your time. 

The National Centre for Universities and Businesses (NCUB) recommends that students put some time into a cause they care about. So, what are the best ways to get involved and make sure you're putting in some time for the causes you care about?

Which cause do you care about enough to give some of your time? 

Everyone has their own concerns about wider society - it's surely a personal choice as to which ones you care about most, because a lot of the time it depends on your emotional responses to what you see and hear about your environment. 

So, which cause should you choose? The first thing to get out of the way should be working as a volunteer in order to contribute to a cause because you think it may help to further your own career - it's quite unlikely you're going to make the most of an opportunity if you're thinking about trying to balance the altruism of giving your time with making sure you have things ticked off from your CV. 

"Whatever you’re passionate about, there is a charity or a not-for-profit organisation out there that can benefit from your enthusiasm. This is your chance to help shape the world for the better with other like-minded people."

So think about which causes or issues really get you in the gut when you hear about them, for example, 'I don't think children should live in poverty when they're living in one of the richest countries in the world, it's wrong'. That's the moral and emotional response which probably means you have some sort of inner drive to help sort that issue out. 

According to the NCUB: "Whatever you’re passionate about, there is a charity or a not-for-profit organisation out there that can benefit from your enthusiasm. This is your chance to help shape the world for the better with other like-minded people."

Which organisations take volunteers to help tackle the issue you care about?  

It's time to get your work boots on and go find that organisation which is trying to make sure there's a solution to the issue you've decided to give your time towards solving. 

If you're studying in the UK, you could start by contacting the NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations). They are the centre point for lots of organisations in the UK which require volunteers to help them continue solutions to society's problems. 

"Volunteering can make a real difference to your own life and the lives of those around you. We want to ensure that anyone thinking about giving their time can find a volunteering opportunity which is right for them, whether it's supporting a victim of crime or helping out at a local sports club."

The NCVO runs a Volunteer Centre system which means you can find your local centre, then get in touch with them and find out what opportunities are available in your local area to help out.

They focus on ensuring, "that anyone thinking about giving their time can find a volunteering opportunity which is right for them, whether it's supporting a victim of crime or helping out at a local sports club."

Some major charities and organisations looking for student volunteers

Barnardo's

Barnardo's tries to help protect vulnerable children around the UK:  whether that be by helping to prevent child poverty, child sexual exploitation, or to help children cope with disabilities or domestic violence. 

Many universities have Barnardo's societies, which mean that getting involved in helping vulnerable children could be on your doorstep and involve teamwork and socialising with other students at the same institution as yourself. 

Greenpeace

Greenpeace aims to protect the natural environment: they focus on investigating, exposing and confronting the abuse of the environment and propose solutions to help preserve our environmental heritage. 

"We have the knowledge, skills and technologies to stop climate change. All over the world people have woken up to the threat, and are working to reduce the use of fossil fuels, stop rainforest destruction and get power from clean energy. Still much more needs to be done."

Within their overall aim of helping to protect the environment there are many smaller, but no less important, issues which make up they overall area of their concern.

Take a look here to see which individual environmental issues they are currently confronting. 

On the major global issue of climate change, Greenpeace says: "We have the knowledge, skills and technologies to stop climate change. All over the world people have woken up to the threat, and are working to reduce the use of fossil fuels, stop rainforest destruction and get power from clean energy. Still much more needs to be done."

British Red Cross

Easily one of the best known charitable organisations in the world, the British Red Cross is involved in everything from first aid, to emergency response to humanitarian and natural disasters, to helping those with disabilities. 

You can find out more here about what they do all over the world, with international recognition of their work.  

They even run a British Red Cross on Campus programme which is designed to help get students in the UK involved. 

 

 

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