Needless to say, volunteering is great. It makes a difference in your community, makes the lives of people in need a little better. Yet, volunteering is more than that. While you are helping others, you gain experience, meet new people and learn new skills. Or you simply need a practical reason - to write a good CV. It doesn't matter what is your intention, I am sure once you start to volunteer, you will find your meaning.
The UK has offered endless opportunities to get involved in volunteering activities. In my university, there are two big organizations to provide volunteering opportunities: Student Community Action (SCA) and colleges group. There will be an equivalent group in your university, just check it out.
SCA is a student-led, community-focused organization. There are around 50 different projects in SCA. It hosts a large variety of activities, for example, working with children, dog walking for residents, computer classes for the elderly and working with locals schools and prison. Some projects even run to support our own students, by promoting mental wellbeing and listening service. The size of the universities in the UK is usually bigger compared to Hong Kong. The projects are therefore more diverse. You can always find a project that interests you. The mode of being a volunteer is a bit different from joining a society. You are welcome to join the project throughout the year, but not just limited to the start of the term. And usually, the projects provide one-off opportunities and there is no long-term commitment, you don’t need to turn up every week. Just sign up a session whenever you are free.
You can also volunteer through college. The volunteer services in college usually focus on the area around the college, for example, the community area for homeless and underprivileged people to rest and socialise. Also, some services target within the college, like food collection in the college canteen and distribute the food to the needy. College is a tight community, you can volunteer with your close friends and have some fun time. If you have the opportunity to contact with locals with different backgrounds and places, it will give you a new perspective of the people's lives in the country. It is a meaningful cultural exchange - you will learn something that cannot be learnt in the lectures or read from the news.
There are other forms of volunteering: volunteering project abroad, raising money by taking challenges or even be a committee member in a charity fashion show. Students are all enthusiastic about their project and are willing to match you with their project. Check them out in Freshers’ Fair, go online for their website or Facebook page or even send them emails. There are always loads of opportunities around if you are willing to seek for them.