#CheveningSVW: Scholar Volunteering Experiences
To celebrate Student Volunteering Week (#SVW2018), we asked five altruistic Chevening Scholars across the UK to share their experiences of engaging in their communities. Watch their videos, read their stories, and see if you’re inspired.
If our scholars’ experiences have whet your philanthropic appetite but you don’t know where to start, why not talk to your Students’ Union to see how you can get involved all year round!
Yasmine Fofana (Côte d’Ivoire) – MSc International Tourism Development, University of Surrey
Sindy Nur Fitri (Indonesia) – LLM Innovation, Technology and the Law, University of Edinburgh
‘I joined and am currently a member of University of Edinburgh’s digital ambassador team which, in collaboration with local communities and organisations, works to provide digital skills training through digital drop-in sessions. I also occasionally volunteer at St. Cecilia’s Concert Hall and Music Museum of the University of Edinburgh, as well as being the creative director for the Indonesian Students' Association in the UK’s community radio station.
For me, volunteering is a way to reignite my spirit and purpose. It allows me to contribute to society, as well as finding new friends and causes. I also find it a very positive influence on my mental health as it balances out the stresses of my academic life, which can sometimes be demanding.
In my Digital Ambassador work, it has been particularly rewarding to witness my mentees grow their digital skills helping to make them more employable. While for senior participants, a simple task such as using a tablet, writing emails, or exchanging stories through video call means a lot towards helping them reconnect with the outside world or long-lost family. Seeing them leaving the session with a big smile always truly fascinates me.
I would encourage my fellow Cheveners to engage in volunteering activities as it’s one of the best ways to use your abilities for the betterment of humanity. Your dedication and simple acts bring joy and can really impact and empower others. Volunteering also allows us to hone our professional and life skills, as well as open the door for so many personal growth opportunities.
A good starting point would be to dedicate a few hours of your week to volunteering on campus or at a local organization. You can also find many online volunteering opportunities which enable you to work from home. Volunteering is not always easy to do, but I promise it's going to be worth it.’
Bryan Choong (Singapore) – MPH Public Health, University of Edinburgh
Rayon Mclean (Jamaica) – MA Applied Theatre (Drama in Educational, Community and Social Contexts), Goldsmiths, University of London
‘My Chevening experience has been enriched by the people I have met and the stories they’ve shared. I’ve met most of these people whilst volunteering. I have spent several hours at the homework centre at the BME Forum in West Croydon and working with young people at the Lewisham Youth Theatre in Catford, through my placement at the Goldsmiths, University of London. I will never forget my experience at Bentley Priory Nature Reserve, where my fellow Cheveners and I sang Bob Marley songs as we worked in a carpet of snow.
I volunteer to connect with communities and to map experiences. I would encourage all Cheveners to volunteer, as it is a gateway in creating bridges with other people alongside the fact that you end up learning more about you.’