How do you ensure that you are getting all you can out of your experience while living or studying abroad? By eating everything off the menu at the greatest restaurants in town? Making a list of the best sites to visit and then crossing them off one by one? Or how about learning the language and getting to know the locals?
These are all great ways to get to know your host city, but there is another way you may not have considered that’s almost guaranteed to give you a new perspective on your local community: volunteering.
Volunteering is not just a cost-effective way to serve the needs of a community. Doing your part also gets you some undeniable feel-good benefits. You will meet lots of like-minded people, your host city will open up in an entirely new way, and (maybe most importantly) it will give you the opportunity to get to know yourself better and discover what you are passionate about.
You are going to learn a ton from your experience regardless of what you volunteer to do—and new knowledge always translates well to your resume. Many employers and educational institutions recognize that volunteer work experience is just as valuable (sometimes more valuable!) as paid work experience. You can also use your involvement on applications for scholarships and bursaries as they are an excellent way to showcase key skills and demonstrate that you are passionate about something outside of yourself.
And the enhancements to your CV aren’t the only perks of volunteering! Some volunteer opportunities can give you access to events that you may otherwise not be able to attend, like art exhibits, professional sports games, and fundraising events.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get helping!
Are you new to Canada?
Here are some tips to get you started with volunteering.
For post-secondary students
Many universities and colleges in Canada have student groups that coordinate volunteer activities, and some schools even have a department dedicated to engaging students with the greater community.
You can start by visiting your school’s website and doing a search of “volunteer opportunities” or “student community outreach.” If the results are not what you are looking for, try checking out the links at the bottom of this blog post.
For high school students
There are lots of ways to volunteer your time for a good cause—and lots of people to tell you about the opportunities available in your community. Start by visiting your guidance counsellor’s office to see which organizations have contacted your school looking for volunteers. Your host family might also be interested in volunteering, so be sure to ask them if they would like to help you explore some options!
In many provinces, it is a requirement for students to do some volunteering in order to graduate. Even if you are only here for one semester, your Canadian school friends are probably already taking part in their own volunteer opportunities—and they would likely love some company!
Are you a Canadian going abroad?
All it takes is a few Google searches to learn more about the volunteer opportunities in your host city. Volunteering is one of the best ways to make new friends!
Better yet, if you have already built a solid crew of locals and expats in your new location, start a conversation about combining your energies into a volunteering opportunity and, boom—you have just meshed a group hangout with a greater cause.
Are you an international student? Let us help you feel at home while you study abroad. We cover all your health insurance needs, give you easily accessible resources for navigating the healthcare systems, provide physical and mental wellness support through the Stay Healthy at School program, 24/7 claim services should you need assistance, and much more. For more information, visit https://www.inglestudents.com/studyinsured/, call us at 1-855-649-4182 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.