Why I Like to Volunteer
By Ayumi Hirata, Langara College, featured writer for the Study in BC blog. Read more from Ayumi here.
One of the most surprising things to me at my college is that many students are engaged in volunteer work because in my home country, university and college students rarely join volunteering. My college provides students with many opportunities to volunteer. In my second semester, I participated in volunteer work for the first time. Since then, I have had so many volunteer experiences. Through volunteering, I can meet new friends from different background who have the same interests as well as gain new opportunities and improve skills.
I have joined the International Education Volunteer Program (IEVP) at my college since my third semester. In this program, I plan and organize events mainly for international students in the ESL program. So far, I have joined i-Lunch and i-Explore committees in the program. For i-Lunch, I planned to eat Greek food with other members. For i-Explore, I went to Lynn Canyon, Vancouver Aquarium, and Robson Square for ice skating. Furthermore, volunteer members help with new student orientations. Through this program, I learned how to cooperate well with others when planning events.
By taking advantage of what I learned in the IEVP, my friends and I started the student club “Intercultural Gatherings.” (Students can earn volunteer hours by participating in student clubs as an organizer.) In this club, we plan and organize gatherings in which students can exchange their cultures, including language. To do this, we cooperate with other student clubs related to culture. We have planned two gatherings so far. In the last two gatherings, we collaborated with more than 10 student clubs. We are planning a fundraising event in March. In the event, we will hold a night market. What is difficult for me in organizing the gatherings is that we have to work with other student clubs.
I also volunteered on Pink Shirt Day. Pink Shirt Day is the anti-bullying event. On that day, I helped with selling the T-shirts and promoting Pink Shirt Day.
Thus, there were so many chances to volunteer at my college. It is true that it is difficult to balance volunteering and study. However, thanks to volunteer opportunities, I have learned what I can’t learn when I study. I highly recommend volunteering!