A UK Master's student's experience of volunteering

4 December 2020

Develop your skills, expand your horizons and make a difference. Here’s an account of how volunteering has impacted the life of a UCL Master’s student.

wall art with inspirational message

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 webpageshere are two students perspectives on how their volunteering made a difference.

George Washbourn is a Master’s student in the Department of English Language and Literature and has been volunteering with the Refugee Council as an Integration Advice Volunteer – here’s an excerpt from his volunteering story: 

I have been a volunteer with the Refugee Council (RC) since January 2020, a charitable organisation which provides help and guidance for certified refugees across the country.  

I feel I have made a difference in both alleviating the highly saturated workload of the full time workers at the RC, whilst working with my colleagues to help ameliorate the situations of the large number of clients I interact with every day of my volunteering. What I have found is that clients new and established are often unaware of the services that are available to them, feeling thrown by the wayside. The simple act of calmly signposting or referring somebody in a friendly and warm manner has both the power to help ease their anxiety with their situation, as well as putting them in contact with a person or service which will help to address any of the life-altering issues they may be facing. 

There is no doubt in my mind that I would recommend volunteering to anyone with an empathetic bone in their body. Volunteering is rigorous, rewarding, fun, enriching, and genuinely life-affirming. The Refugee Council in particular has allowed for opportunities for me to be impactful in a number of different roles, whilst being such a friendly and supportive place to volunteer. Don’t hesitate to sign up! 

George Washbourn, PGT English Language and Literature student

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. 

Last revised: 8 September 2021.