Volunteering is a great way to give something back and gain skills whist doing so, and it can also lead to some unique opportunities. Back in March we offered KUSU Volunteers the opportunity to attend IMPACT 2011. This is a brand new national conference on student volunteering and social action organised by student volunteers for student volunteers which took place in Cambridge. KUSU Volunteer Noha agreed to attend and here’s how she got on.
I am Noha. I come from Egypt and I am a second year economics student at Kingston University. I volunteer part time mainly at weekends (doing One-Off Projects) and find it great to help others whatever the task is.
What I’ve been doing lately -
On 5th and 6th March I attended the IMPACT 2011 conference. It was a conference run by students who volunteer and graduates who made their way to work as volunteers, most of them work as Volunteer Coordinators.
What it involved -
There were seminars to promote different types of skills a volunteer needs to have, and on different types of topics for example ‘volunteering and development’. There were 3 choices for each session and each session had a different topic, led by a student or a graduate who dealt with that field as a volunteer. They asked us questions on what we thought. We as students and graduate volunteers were split into groups. In each session we had to brain storm and find different solutions for different problems, which was very good. We had to identify solutions, and present the question and show how we dealt with it as a group. This really influenced me as a person. We brainstormed and found new solutions for every problem identified and proposed by different groups.
It really made a change for me. I got to know new people who were from different universities around the UK (including Nottingham University, Oxford University, Cambridge University). It really made me see the real world and how volunteering can influence every aspect of life, it also influenced my main skills needed for any aspect of life- for example it really got me to be more confident and it also influenced my team working skills and leadership skills and these as I said are skills needed in every aspect of life.
How it’s influenced me -
Because I am from Egypt and because 11% of the GDP comes from tourism, I have found it a big issue that the number of tourists declined drastically after the current protests. It has encouraged me to make a campaign for tourism in Egypt to raise awareness that Egypt is still secure, and show foreigners other places to go other than Cairo and Alexandria because Egypt has many places for tourism that a foreigner may not know about and these places are a 100% secure. I also found support when I discussed the issue with other students and graduates there, which encourages me to try my best to implement the idea I have.