Making new friends through volunteering

1 December 2020

Volunteering can open doors, it can help you explore new places, new experiences and enable you to make new friends. Here’s international Master's student Nawsha’s experience of volunteering.

Volunteer at an event

Over the past year, more than 2000 students have volunteered through Students’ Union UCL’s Volunteering Service

We’ve got loads of amazing stories on our webpages; here’s one student’s perspective on how their volunteering made a difference. 

Nashwa Naushad is studying for an MSc in Sustainable Urbanism at the Bartlett School of Planning. She’s been spending her time helping at one-off events as well as ongoing placements – here’s an excerpt from her volunteering story: 

I’ve had a very rich volunteering experience during my time here at UCL. I was volunteering full-time as a mentor at Westminster Befriend a Family (WBAF) and reading volunteer at  Bookmark Reading Charity, dedicating 1-2 hours a week before COVID-19. I have also volunteered with other organisations like Yes Futures, Age UK Kensington and Chelsea and Holborn Community Association on one-off opportunities. I assisted the coaches in managing and guiding the children at Yes Futures’ annual 3-day camp; I played a similar role at the Holborn Fun Palace, a one-day event organised by Holborn Community Association. I also helped out at the Valentine’s Day celebration/concert for older people, conducted by Age UK. 

Back in my home country, India, I was an active volunteer with an organisation called Bhumi that works for the betterment of education for underprivileged children. Beyond the satisfaction of contributing time towards a cause I hold dear to my heart, volunteering at Bhumi gave me the opportunity to constantly meet new people, including some of my closest friends today. I wanted that experience to continue here in the UK.   

I’ve made many friends and visited quite a few places through these roles. I even got a chance to attend a charity ball organised by Bookmark - something I would have only been able to dream of otherwise. I spent an entire weekend with a large group of excited kids at an outdoor adventure activity centre, where I tried abseiling for the first time. Volunteering has very much helped break my academic routine and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. 

Nashwa Naushad, MSc Sustainable Urbanism, Bartlett School of Planning

Every opportunity you find through us provides training and travel expenses. All of our partner organisations have signed up to our service standards, guaranteeing your protection and support when you start to volunteer. 

We’ll be available during Welcome Week and hosting virtual fairs for you to meet our partner charities digitally, so even if you're studying remotely, you'll still be able to get involved. 

Keep up to date with all things volunteering on our social media channels: 

Facebook – UCL Volunteering Service 
Twitter - @UCLVolunteering 
Instagram - @studentsunionucl 

And check out our guidance on how to start your volunteering journey today.