In Australia there are a lot of organisations that hold different types of public and non-for-profit events all year round. Most of the people that help run the events are employees from the organisations and their roles are mostly arranging all of the equipment, facilities, managing personnel and event logistics. The rest of the staff are mostly made of volunteers. Volunteers are recruited for assistance on the day, and although there is no financial benefit, lots of people are keen to participate – especially international students. Practicing your English and making more friends are some of the reasons why being a volunteer has been a great benefit for me.
Practicing your spoken English is the first and most important reason to be a volunteer – in my opinion. Participating in events or charity activities forces me to only use English when I speak. People, staff or participants come from all over the world, so as English is our common language, it is the best method to communicate with others.
As an international student, apart from class time I need to find extra time to practice my English. For instance, last weekend I worked as a volunteer for the ‘B2GC’ (Brisbane to Gold Coast) cycling event. In this event, I spoke to other volunteers, event partners, team leaders and event participants. Spoken English is the key element of communicating with others, so enhancing my level of communication is important.
Expanding your social circle is another major reason for being a volunteer. As you get to meet so many international students and local residents, making friends with them allowed me to discover new cultures. As a student who wants a career in Hotel Management, I need to be aware of traditions, customs and taboos of every culture. Also, by making more friends, I feel as though I am apart of the society and I always have a really great time.
If you are a student at Griffith English Language Institute GELI, make sure to check the activities calendar as there are many volunteer opportunities there for you to sign up to. Being a volunteer makes me happy and can make you happy too! Practice your English, make new friends and gain industry experience.
-Li (Monica) Mengyao
My name is Monica, I come from Dalian – China, and my star sign is Cancer. I love baking, the sunshine and a big smile. 😀