Every student wants to remember his or her university time as a memorable part of their life adventure. As I keep saying, this is the timeframe when we can be involved in as many activities as possible, travel as much as we can and have fun at each party that we are invited to. But who said that this is all?
Lately, much emphasis is put on volunteering and employers have finally started to take into account students who are willing to work for free in exchange for experience. Let me tell you what, I am a student and I also volunteer for the best student organization, Erasmus Student Network. During my first international meeting with a group of incredible people, there is no doubt of how many benefits volunteering can bring the youth, and this is why I decided to write them down and let you know some of the best reasons why you should consider volunteering.
First of all, volunteering means meeting a lot of students who share the same interests as you. You might study the same subject, you can discuss on different topics and you start having so much in common. Who can understand you better than your own peers? Because I am interested in education and I already have lots of international experience due to my studies abroad, I joined the International Committee for Education (ICE) within ESN and I have dedicated myself to this special field.
Then, it wasn’t long until we became friends and started doing more and more together. What do I mean? There are projects on plenty of topics that we can do together and here comes the fun part: while being in Brussels (because there is the ESN House and main office) I had the opportunity to meet people that developed their career just because they volunteered during their studies. Isn’t it amazing to meet the Director of Erasmus+ and the President of ESN International (‘cause yeah, this is an international NGO) and listen to their life stories and how volunteering changed their life? They are now working in their dream jobs at the European Commission or organizations within it. Dreams do come true and yes, we do have access to higher institutions.
And yes, I have also visited the European Commission where two delegates presented us the future agenda and improvements of the Erasmus+ project (Erasmus+ Master Loan Scheme). They asked us for our opinion and were really willing to share their knowledge with us, the voice of (international) students.
But wait, there were many other things going on. Small sessions on how to write a project and apply for a grant, workshops on how to include our soft and hard skills learnt in ESN in our CV, how to write position and reaction papers and not to mention how to bring the best practices of education, youth and mobility to the local and national level.
Yes, this meeting boosted my motivation and creativity, taught me valuable practices and made me identify as a European citizen, who can contribute considerably to the improvement of the education system. Do you want to know more? Stay tuned! More info is coming!