Since yesterday’s experience was quite enlightening and probably the most fulfilling thing I have done over the last couple of months, I decided to think for a moment and share my motivations with you guys. Who knows? Maybe someone else gets inspired, too? I hope so.
1. You help people in need.
Just think about it for a second. Think about how great it feels when you know you can help poor families get something to eat (especially during the cold months of the year), or just imagine all the happiness of kids to whom you can dedicate some of your time by reading books out loud to them at the local library. Wouldn’t you feel much more useful than usual? Wouldn’t that give more meaning to your own life? Knowing that there are people out there who need you and who are grateful if you are there for them?
2. You spend your (free) time productively
For the reasons mentioned above in #1.
3. Easier experience to get as opposed to job hunting
Okay, I do understand that earning money is important and all (I must know since I am a just started college student myself) but look at it this way: when you look for a job alongside your studies, it is probably not only the money you seek but also the work experience that you can later on present on your résumé, right? Now, depending on how bad you need extra money, volunteering is a much easier thing to do than go through the whole job hunting process. I don’t know how this works in other countries, but when you send out any type of application to a company in Germany, be it an internship or a vacancy or whatever, there is a very big chance that you will be ignored. I mean you spend all of this time preparing your résumé and your application letter and you REALLY want to apply yourself and do something but these people mostly don’t even have the time to tell you that they don’t want you (happened to me several times). Frustrating, isn’t it?
When volunteering, everything is so much easier. You just go to the place where volunteers are needed and start helping out. In my experience and from what I have heard, no applications or whatsoever needed. Just show up and help. As easy as that and here you have your somewhat work experience. Definitely better than sitting around and waiting.
4. You get to know new people
I usually divide my time between my house and campus. Surely there are many nice people in uni and all and sometimes we even spend some time together but when it comes to expanding my circle, given my busy schedule, there is not very much I can do to get out more since I am really not a clubbing type. I never understood why people like loud music and alcohol. So if you are somewhat like me, joining a good cause may be a good way to meet new people. I was always curious to find some international people in Berlin and by international I mean something other than Russian ( absolutely no racism intended, I am east European myself) and I must say besides couchsurfing, volunteering is where I found what I was looking for. Surely you can also go to a bar or a park or whatever but when doing something with others, a conversation is almost inevitable so it is way easier to start talking to each other, or so I believe.
5. You learn something new
Yesterday I was sorting food at a food bank. After a while I learned how to tell good from bad stuff (more exactly than before) and got to know types of fruits and vegetables that I have never really noticed before. No matter what it is you do, I am sure there is something you will learn there, be it a fact or a skill, that you had no clue of before. Isn’t that awesome?