11Jan2019

VOLUNTEERING IN TARTU: FOUR LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCES – Meline (ARMENIA)

It’s great to be a volunteer! 

I have been actively involved in volunteering activities since I was 19 in my home country and outside. I did European Voluntary Service in Spain as a volunteer in the Red Cross Society, which gave me huge amount of experiences and motivated me more to dedicate some of my time to volunteering. When I arrived in Tartu, I started to look for organizations and non-governmental organizations which offered volunteering opportunities. I’m quite certain that being a volunteer not only benefits the company/NGO you are volunteering for, but also enriches your experiences in various fields and provides you with networking opportunities.

I’ll share with you some of the volunteering opportunities I had since I arrived in Tartu, just in case you are interested in those specific fields.

If you are interested in volunteering, a good way to start would be to ask the faculty administration whether they have conferences and other events which you can join and help organize. For example, I had the chance to volunteer for my institute (Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies) and contribute to the organization of the Fourth Annual Tartu Conference on Russian and East European Studies. This gave me an opportunity to not only gain new experiences and skills, but also meet great political scientists, historians and other interesting people in my field of studies.

I later had the chance to become a part of TEDx Tartu, which is an independent, international community which organizes Ted Talk style events worldwide. This was a great place for receiving new information, boosting my creativity, and meeting intelligent people. 

Two other vital experiences I’ve had were with the International House of Tartu (a local NGO), and with the International Student Ambassadors, both of which would give you (and gave me) a chance to meet new people, make friends, and show your skills in whatever field you would like.

I’m currently volunteering for sTARTUp day in Tartu, which will be held during the 23-25th of January. It will bring together over 100 world-class speakers and 4000 attendees to discuss business, innovation, new technologies, and share startup success stories. If you are interested, you can find more information here.

I’m more than convinced that volunteering is a phenomenal activity to pursue. It provides a great way for us to improve our skills, gain new experiences, and meet interesting people. Finally, I believe that volunteering is vitally important as a means for us to grow, improve ourselves, and change or reshape the way we look at the world.

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