VOLUNTEER is a great way to spice up your student life in the Netherlands

To me, studying abroad has never been only about stuffing my brain with academic skills and knowledge, but also about experiencing life in a different way in a different country and learning from actually BEING in the new living environment. One way of doing so for me is to get actively involved in different volunteer activities, be it for a noble cause or not.

Posted by Chung Thanh Le at Mar 05, 2017 10:10 AM
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First I would like to share with you why I volunteer

1)      Hobby and passion: volunteering has always been something I enjoy doing since I was a little middle school boy. I am in no way a saint or trying to be a saint, but I do believe in the importance of the contribution of each single person to make the world a better place. So if It s a charity organization or an event for a good cause that I am volunteering for, it is simply because I think my little effort may help in some way or other.   

2)    Fun: It is super fun and satisfying to volunteer. You may be busy running around the whole day at an event, or discussing intensively about a plan with your colleagues, or talking to a lot of random people to advocate for your cause, or running a project for months. Whatever it is, you may feel tired at times, but I guarantee you that the end result is always able to put a big beautiful smile on your face. Also, volunteering at an event can be a good stress reliever, especially after a week of intensive learning at school.

3)     Network: you get to meet tons of people. Some stay as friends, some stay as a good source of knowledge, some stay as a connection for future work. I think there is no better to grow a bond with someone than working together toward the same goal. Volunteering is a great working environment that is both fun and meaningful, and perfect for making friends.

4)     Experience: you ll learn a lot of practical skills on the jobs. Communication, teamwork and project management are the three key skills that I constantly learn at every volunteer job.

Now I wanna share with you some of my volunteer experience

1)     Chocolate festival was my most recent activity: I know about this opportunity through a friend. Not only I had heaps of fun on the day, I even got a compensation of 40eu and a stack of chocolate bars to bring home. There i met a lady who write blogs about her baking and cooking experiences, and we both agreed that we should cook together someday and make a vlog about it :* 

 

2)      I am currently a board chairman of the Vietnamese student association in the Netherlands and we are running a charity project Lend A Building Hand to raise at least 10k eu to rebuild a rundown primary in Vietnam. The job is a huge commitment that requires so much work, and at times i get a lot of pressure from it. But then i always think about why i started it in the first place, and the belief that my work today may help change someone else life later on always manages to pull me through the pressure. Last week i presented the project during a lunch break at my internship company. I got a lot of valuable inputs n my supervisor promised that his family would donate. The company is even considering participating in the Amsterdam mud master run event in April to raise money for the charity. But for now we still need a lot of support. So If you are interested in the project, please visit our facebook page to like, share and donate to support us

 

3)      I used to volunteer for Aids Health Care Foundation in Amsterdam. During my bachelor, I followed courses in pre-medical and biomedical programs, which made me more aware and passionate about public health issues. I initially contacted the organization first and expressed my interest in volunteering for them. There I got trained to deliver HIV test and performed HIV counselling. I went to multiple gay prides in Amsterdam and Belgium to advocate about HIV awareness and Safe sex.

gay prides europe
I traveled with AHF to gay prides to promote safe sex and raise HIV/AIDS awareness.

 

You may wonder how u can get started.

1)   Look it up online: Mr.Google is a great helper in this case. Otherwise, you can always check out sites like Iamsterdam.

2)     Words of mouth: talk to people (friends, colleagues, teachers, really...anyone can help) about your wishes to volunteer and you may get some really nice suggestions

3)     Make your own: I initiated the project Lend a building hand as I have always wanted to do something meaningful to give back to my homeland. So you can always try to be a social entrepreneur and be proactive about turning your passion into a real thing. Gather some friends and make it happen! :D

I hope that this blog inspires you to do more than just studying, as you can really benefit from doing extracurricular activities, one of which is volunteering.

Don’t forget to check out the other blogs in my channel as I try to give you a look into what studying and living in Holland as an international student are like.

And if you want quick updates on my life, follow me on instagram and see what kind of crazy stuff I am up to :D

Good luck with your volunteer journey!

Posted by Chung Thanh Le at Mar 05, 2017 10:10 AM
Category: