Volunteering at university

If I’ve said it before I’ll say it again: there are few things more useful for international students than volunteering at university.

Pre-sessional  Academic English courses are finally over and it is time to get on with the real thing! Lots of universities will be having their induction week this week and this is a good time to get involved and engaged with university life. At the end of the pre-sessional course my students were asking me how they could continue to  improve their English skills after the end of their English course. I said the same thing to every student: try to meet British people. This is easier said than done, but one way you can do this is through volunteering.

Volunteering is an important part of British culture. Millions of people give up their time and skills to help others and the community by volunteering. I can think of a few excellent reasons for volunteering:

1. well obviously you help others in the community!

2. you improve your English language skills

3. you learn about British culture

4. you improve your chances of getting a good job in the long run because you improve your cv

well I think there are lots more but those are the ones that just spring to mind. Some students at my university volunteer to plant trees to help the environment. Others volunteer to go and meet elderly people in old people’s homes. Some deliver food to disabled or elderly people. If you are an international student you should start by getting down to your student union which will have information about how you can volunteer. It will probably run student volunteering schemes. You can read about opportunities to volunteer with Plymouth University Student Union here and here you can practise your listening skills by listening to Charlie talk about volunteering in Plymouth here (with transcript!).