Saturday 26 March 2016

Why I Love Voluntary Work

Why I Love Voluntary Work

It's no secret that voluntary work does wonders for your career and job prospects, whether you're a recent graduate or someone looking to change career path. However, as a long time volunteer I believe the benefits of a little volunteering lie far beyond that of furthering your career, so I thought I'd talk today about the few of the reasons why I love my voluntary positions.

It Helps the Community

If you've ever lived in a small town, you'll know that opportunities are frustratingly hard to come by (for both work and leisure!). Volunteering is a great way to get involved in improving the community you live in. A case in point is that up until a few years ago our town didn't have a cinema, however now we have a small independent cinema staffed by volunteers. Naturally they show films a few weeks later than the larger cinema chains, but it feels great going knowing that you're supporting a local business that will hopefully continue long into the future (not to mention they serve wine at viewings!).

Another side to this is that when you volunteer in projects that serve the community, you also hear about more that's going on. Through being at the museum I've learnt that there's actually a lot more going on in my sleepy town than I'd previously thought, and I've been part of groups and events that otherwise I wouldn't have heard about.

Why I Love Voluntary Work

You Meet Interesting People

Ok, so there's potential to meet interesting people in pretty much any given situation, however with voluntary work there's such a variety of people of different ages and backgrounds that you meet someone with an interesting story to tell every time you go! Whether it's younger people volunteering in the school holidays who have differing career goals to your own, or older people who have an interesting perspective on life, I always come away feeling inspired and uplifted.

It's A Mindful Thing To Do 

I actually find my voluntary work very mindful in different capacities. Whilst I'm volunteering at the museum I'm busy talking with other volunteers, visitors, or busy doing research, which means I'm absorbed in what I'm doing and not thinking about things outside of the moment (like impending deadlines!). When you have a job that's pretty menial you find that your mind can often wander onto other things, which is hard as I'm definitely trying to embrace a more mindful lifestyle lately! Once a month I also volunteer at a historic church, which is mindful in different ways to the museum. Whilst I do interact with visitors and serve on the till, a lot of the time I'm left to my own devices. Having a few hours of quiet in very peaceful surroundings feels like a mental cleanse, and I come away feeling so refreshed!

Why I Love Voluntary Work

It Can Literally Take You Places

Volunteering abroad isn't something I've actually done, but it's something that I definitely want to do in the future, certainly after finishing studying, but ideally before then! This website is essentially airbnb for volunteer work - you can search by country, or by the type of work you're looking to do and hey presto! You're faced with more amazing voluntary experiences than you could ever do in a lifetime. If you're looking for a cheaper way of travelling, or looking for a holiday with a difference then I think these look great! Alpacas, anyone?

Of course, volunteering is very much a luxury which I'm thankful that I currently have the time to do. Even in the future though, when I get a full time job I can still see myself giving up a little time (even if it's just once a month) to do voluntary work in some form or other. What about you guys? Any volunteering abroad stories (I wanna hear them!)?

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