What’s up: Personal importance of volunteering
With the opening of the volunteer registrations for the European Universities Games Lodz 2022 only a few days away, and the international volunteer day coming up in December, we focus the EUSA Whatsup student column on the topic of volunteering. We asked our current European Solidarity Corps volunteers Aleksandra from Russia and Anouk from France to share their views, values and importance of volunteering for them.
Volunteering is an important part of my life. For several years now I have been participating in various activities as a volunteer. But why is it so important to me? Firstly, volunteering helps me to look at life from another angle and to be at the center of a variety of events. When you, as a volunteer, receive gratitude, you understand that all this is not in vain, you get positive energy from people. Being a volunteer means giving a piece of yourself to every event, but getting a lot more in return. For example, I became more sociable and creative and met wonderful people who became my friends. Secondly, thanks to the experience that volunteering gives, you can develop various useful knowledge and skills. Thirdly, this is a chance to gain invaluable experience in various projects, to meet interesting people. By participating in various events, you can show yourself both from the creative side and from the organizational side. So, for example, thanks to my volunteer experience, I was able not only to attend major international events, acquire new abilities, and become more confident.
I believe that everyone should learn for themselves what it is like to be a volunteer. As a volunteer, you can really change something and, moreover, help other people change by inspiring them with your example. Everyone knows the well-known saying “Start with yourself, and the world around you will change” - in the case of volunteering, this is true. Sometimes volunteering is about inspiring other people to do the same. Volunteering is the way of social change.
After graduating from university, I thought that my journey to learn new things was only at its very beginning. In my opinion, volunteering is an exchange: a volunteer has the chance to give of his/her time, share knowledge and ideas, and receive inestimable take away in return. It is an opportunity to learn new skills, another way of working and living in a foreign country and to learn more about myself.
Most of all what attracted me was being part of a community and participate to something bigger than me. The values of the projects EUSA takes part in resonated with mine. Because what one single brain can do is amazing but what a whole team of brains can achieve is beyond imagination. I do not think that being a volunteer will make me a superhero, but I strongly believe to gain some superpowers out of my experience with EUSA. To those still hesitating to sign up for a volunteering experience: go for it, you will not regret it!
Aleksandra Andreeva has recently graduated from the Siberian Federal University with a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Foreign Policy, and Anouk Renaud also just graduated, from the University of Montpellier with a Master's degree in International Projects Negotiation.
Are you a student with an opinion? We are looking for new contributors for our student column every month. Feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org to offer a piece or propose a topic.