Ruzanna Baghdasaryan (Armenia)
Volunteering is a big experience for me, and I can say it’s an opportunity to expand one’s horizons and visit new places. It’s a chance to gain invaluable experience in various projects and meet people who have the same interest in volunteering as you do. By participating in a number of events, you can express yourself both from the creative side and from the organizational side. Volunteering projects are a huge field for creativity.
Being a volunteer means contributing to society. It has a positive effect on your mental health, self-esteem, and self-confidence. Volunteering is also a job. Therefore, it can be considered as a full experience and included in your resume, especially if it’s directly related to your professional field. Sometimes people falsely imagine volunteering as only some kind of direct assistance, for example visiting orphanages. However, you can help in different ways and in different fields: providing PR or marketing services, photography, teaching, consulting, and many more. You are free to choose what suits you the best. With volunteering, you can develop soft skills like communication skills, responsibility, independence, critical thinking, etc. that are necessary for employment.
To participate in the radio station’s “Radijo klubas” activities. My role and tasks were not compulsory, more a choice. I was responsible for the activities which I would have to suggest and work on myself. As I was volunteering in a gymnasium I had a direct connection with students, I helped them to make radio shows and if needed took part in the events that they organized. I exercised my own ideas on the radio station. I was also involved in usual radio activities (creation of radio shows, a montage of the shows, creation of playlists, jingles, technical supervision of the radio, and others). I was involved in most school activities and events as well.
I gained valuable experience in fields that were totally new to me. I’ve learned to be more independent and decisive in the choices I make, improved my knowledge of the English language through constant practice, got out of my comfort zone, gained experience in living abroad, and acquired some specific working skills. I also became skillful in planning trips and traveling, considering the fact that I traveled outside my country only once in my life. And now I have my own tips for traveling, lifehacks, and tricks. I more or less overcame my fear of public speaking, as I did a number of presentations representing ESC and volunteering in general and took part in conferences. I also had a chance to work with kids in kindergarten, arranging activities for them. The time I spend working with them is priceless, I really missed teaching children, it was like a breath of fresh air to me.
I feel a noticeable difference between the time I came to Lithuania and now. I was very stressed with my job and my everyday busy life, and everything was affecting me in a negative way. I used to overthink everything and was afraid to take new steps, and new challenges, but now, everything has changed, and I think it’s because of the society and the surrounding I was living in, very caring and supportive. But I cannot say I faced big challenges here, not at all. I just went with the flow.
Volunteering gives some “bonuses” when enrolling in foreign educational institutions and receiving a grant for education. Therefore, if you ever plan to study abroad, in addition to all the other advantages, your volunteering can be a serious point in your resume as a future student. It’s a great opportunity to make new acquaintances and make friends with like-minded people as well. One of the features of volunteering is equalizing people from different spheres and social strata. You get a chance to travel, to see the rest of the world, different cultures and traditions, this must be one of the best parts of volunteering for me, because you travel and practice your language skills, improve communication skills, handle different situations outside of your comfort zone.
“Give and you shall receive”- that is my perception of volunteering.