We asked UCL students what volunteering means to them … and this is what they said:
Film shot and edited by Wenxin Liu.
You can also read about our students’ experiences on our Volunteers Stories page.
Narrator: Being a student in London, there are so many opportunities right on you doorstep. London is a very diverse city and there is really no better way to get involved than to volunteer.
Person 1: As the founder of VIBE (Visually Impaired Buddying Exercise), I’ve really enjoyed seeing VIBE grow quite substantially over the last two years. I’ve really enjoyed working with students as well as the blind and partially sighted participants.
Person 2: We hear back from volunteers and participants about how much they really enjoy the whole volunteering project.
Person 1: It’s great for your CV and is a great, refreshing development, but you also get to meet some really great people and some really great friendships as well, which will last beyond duty.
Person 3: I hadn’t done any volunteering before, so it was a way to actually see other aspects and my other strengths that I have, and also to work together because we had to work as a group, as a team. So it was a way to have the initiative to show teamwork.
Person 4: It was really an exciting thing to do, develops so many skills that you will never think of, meet so many new people and add colour to your university life. I feel it’s really meaningful to do.
Person 3: Yeah, I think it makes you a more well rounded person, you experience every quota of life. It’s good to face your studies, but it’s also very beneficial to go out, see other aspects.
Person 5: I think just touching someone’s life, no matter how insignificant it is, making someone feel like they’re doing something worthwhile, is making someone happy. I felt really happy that I had this opportunity to do that. I enjoyed the looks on the children’s’ faces, the elation that they had something to do, they felt important, they felt they were actually doing something with themselves that had an impact.
Person 6: I’ve learnt how to interact better with people, how to deal with people from different cultures, and also people with special needs. I’ve given volunteer independent organisations the manpower that they need to carry out there activities, something that they might not otherwise have, if it wasn’t for the contribution that students make. I would say definitely do it, make a point of making it a part of your university experience because it’s really going to help you to get a job, so get the experience.
Person 7: People ring [Nightline] with all sorts of problems and I think that if we’ve helped just one person then that’s worth it. It’s a great way to meet new people; at Nightline especially you meet people from all across London, and it’s a really good thing to give back to the student community.
Person 8: The kids loved the treasure hunt that we did [as a part of the Maths Challenge]. They loved going round UCL campus, going to the different rooms with their volunteers, and I guess the best thing about volunteering for me is seeing the impact it has on the people that you are doing the volunteering with. Just joining something that you think, oh, that could be interesting – it can be an amazing experience an you don’t necessarily have to have that much experience in the area or know the people that are doing it, and you’ll make good friends through doing it.
Person 9: (Talking about the Food Cycle). However, busy your course is, you’re not going to be working the whole time and I find it a really pleasant way to get out of the course. Every Sunday when we cook, for example, it’s always fairly busy and fairly hectic, but then you come out of it feeling really quite good and you realise you haven’t thought about work for the whole day and I think that’s what you want when you are relaxing, but then you also feel like you’ve done something really good, and that you have.
Person 5: Well, from coming to UCL and being part of the VSU, I’ve seen that there have been so many opportunities, so many people willing to go out and give their time, willing to go out and give their services, and there’s a lot of happiness and love out there that I didn’t really think could be possible. The volunteering process is one the most rewarding things, it helps you CV, it helps you in a lot of professional ways, but it also helps you as a person, you become more confident, you become happier. So I definitely recommend it to anyone who’s coming to UCL.
Person 10: It was a live changing experience.
Person 11: Yes. Honestly, you’ll hear a lot of it, but you just have to do it.
Person 8: It was of the best things I’ve done at university, if not the best thing I’ve done at university.
Person 11: Yes. That’s actually true, to be honest. I’ve done a bit of studying, but…
Person 11: To be honest, volunteering is the thing!