Jawad Nazir grew up in Saudi Arabia, studied in Pakistan and has recently moved to Australia for postgraduate studies. Jawad has an incredible passion for giving back to his community and was kind enough to share some of his experiences and wisdom with us.
I come from Pakistan, a country known for its volunteer spirit and hospitality.
Pakistan as a country and people have not let go of any opportunity that could contribute to making this global village a great place. For example, Pakistan is host to 1.7 million refugees and is one of the largest contributors to UN peacekeeping missions globally.
I have been in Sydney since May, 2015 as an international student at Sydney Business School, University of Wollongong and I have engaged myself in every possible opportunity to be at the giving end and contribute to my society.
Sydney has been a wonderful host and has given so many opportunities to experience, enhance and enjoy the culture, diversity and amazing blend of life styles.
Sydney, being one of the major cities of the world, also offers great opportunities in terms of human development and skills enhancement in the field of community service.
It is a famous saying, “If opportunity does not knock, build a door”.
As a matter of fact, I took that a little further and thought of creating a master key if that door is locked. That master key is willingness and urge.
An understanding I’ve gained over time is that community services and volunteer communities are extremely well connected all over the world, and this is also the case in Sydney. So if you have that spark and are able to build one relationship and prove your potential, more opportunities will find their way to you.
My volunteer journey in Sydney took me to the suburb of Engadine where I met Mercia, field organiser of the MS Gong Ride, a one-day charity bike ride for multiple sclerosis. I had browsed the Internet, joined online communities and forums for volunteering opportunities for over 4 months. Despite a late application, I was finally considered, perhaps I was lucky and the master key turned into the magic key.
Later I became a part of Chinese New Year celebrations in February 2016 with the City of Sydney, which was again a wonderful opportunity especially in terms of learning Chinese culture and its significance in Australia. I learned that largest celebrations of Chinese New Year outside China take place in Sydney.
It is certainly important to keep searching for opportunities in your field of interest and just as I was thinking this, I hit a goldmine. StudyNSW offers volunteer opportunities to international students at Sydney Airport on a regular basis to assist arriving international students in NSW for the first time. Perfect if you love aviation and customer service at the same time.
And how can I forget my lightning experience at Vivid Sydney?
You’re perhaps thinking, ‘what am I getting out of this?’
I have managed to build a strong portfolio of diverse industry experience, had a chance to interact with policy and decision makers, drive office bearers to do things they might not have considered doing until now and helped them understand some of the realities which they had often been looking for.
I’ve made great friends from different parts of the world. I have managed to develop a great influential network of working professionals from various industries in Sydney, be it aviation, marketing or academics. Most of all, I am recently nominated by my university for the International Student of The Year Award by the NSW Premier’s office for my community engagement and volunteer work.
But also after 8 years of volunteer experience, I have realised it has never been about that.
It is about that sincere urge of giving back and contributing towards your society with a desire to make a positive impact on people around you.
Every step – every effort – every choice we make creates an impact that leaves a lasting impression.
Why not take these small steps, informal efforts and pleasant choices to a new level of dedication and create a difference.
Volunteering makes me stronger, sharper and a better person every day and I think this an on-going quest that I shall continue for rest of my life no matter where I live.