As an international student in New South Wales (NSW), volunteering is a great way to complement your studies and gain professional skills.
Rita, a team leader with the Study NSW International Student Volunteer program and a student from Hong Kong pursuing a double masters degree at Torrens University shares her journey and insights on the rewards of volunteering.
Personal growth and skill development
Volunteering, as Rita exemplifies, is a pathway to personal growth.
“I have always volunteered throughout my life,” she says, noting that it’s a way to give back to society.
Through volunteering you can enhance skills like leadership, problem-solving, and communication.
“On the first day of my volunteering at the NSW International Student Welcome Desk at Sydney Airport, someone lost their passport and another person lost their handbag. So the first thing we needed to do was comfort them and say ‘Don’t worry, we are here.’ Then, we share information, assist you and we can accompany you to sort it out,” Rita shares.
Rita’s volunteering journey highlights not just personal fulfilment but also significant professional advancement.
“There are a lot of benefits for me to grow. I volunteer frequently, once a week. So I get three hours of English training every week,” she says.
This consistent practice has greatly honed her English skills, transforming her from someone who could barely speak a complete sentence in February to a much more fluent speaker.
“My listening has also improved,” Rita reflects.
These skills can help you stand out in the competitive global job market, where proficiency in English can open doors to new opportunities. Volunteering provides invaluable networking and can connect you with professionals and community leaders.
For Rita, the social aspects of volunteering are equally vital.
“In our volunteer group, we meet people from everywhere around the world,” she shares.
“I remember a girl from Egypt, and her brother, so the two of them came. They were looking for transport, inquiring about a train to the western area” Rita shares. “So, knowing they had a lot of luggage, we taught them how to use the bus connector to get to their destination. I’m so happy to share some insider information.”
These interactions not only aid newcomers by providing a warm welcome but also enrich the volunteers’ experience, creating a cycle of mutual benefit and cultural exchange.
Volunteer opportunities for students in NSW
NSW International Student Volunteer Program
The NSW International Student Volunteer Program, delivered by Study NSW and Communiteer, includes roles like volunteering at Airport Welcome Desks in Sydney and Newcastle. , Volunteers greet new international students, offering them a warm welcome and helpful advice. This experience is valuable for both the students and the volunteers, like Rita, who advanced to a team leader role. Volunteers who contribute over 30 hours receive a Certificate of Recognition from Study NSW.
NSW Government volunteer jobs board
International students in NSW can find a range of volunteering roles through the NSW Government website. These programs offer a platform to gain Australian work experience, develop skills and explore potential career paths. Check out the Study NSW website to find out more about volunteering.
Volunteering through your education institution
Many universities and colleges in NSW offer volunteering programs tailored to their students. These programs provide opportunities to engage in community service, campus activities, and special events. Institution-based volunteering can be particularly beneficial as it often aligns with your academic interests and provides a support network of fellow students and faculty. It’s an excellent way to contribute to your university community while developing skills and making new connections.
Platforms like SEEK Volunteer and Indeed are effective for international students seeking a wide range of volunteering opportunities. You can even narrow down the list of various roles to specific skills and interests, allowing you to find positions that align with your academic schedules and personal goals. You can apply directly for positions on these platforms, gaining experience in sectors that complement your studies and personal development.