Volunteering as an International Student

Posted on: 21 February 2023 by Aditi Gupta in Hints, tips and advice

If you’re looking to meet new people, want to learn skills to advance your career and are interested in charitable causes, then volunteering is definitely something to consider.


As part of Feel Good February, the University of Liverpool will be celebrating Sustainability Week from 20-28 February 2023. If you are looking to build a more sustainable future through volunteering your time and becoming a sustainability advocate, read on to find out more on how you can do it.

In this blog we look at some of the benefits of volunteering for international students, including social, career and personal benefits, plus offer some tips for finding your next volunteer opportunity.

Volunteering is good from both an individualistic and societal perspective. It can offer you the following benefits:  

Develop your professional contacts
: Working with a charity organisation will provide you with critical networking opportunities and potentially, a voluntary role can also lead to part-time/full-time employment with the same organisation.  

Enhance your skills: During your voluntary work, you will be using a number of skills in a real-life work setting which will help you in improving your skill set. Moreover, you are also sure to learn some new skills that you can then demonstrate in your application and selection processes, dramatically increasing your employability prospects.  

Bring fun into your life: Volunteering can offer a release from the pressures of studying! You can pursue a hobby or interest while also making a difference. For example, if you’re interested in the outdoors, you might volunteer with the Green Guild, or help out at a children's summer camp.

Explore new career routes: A voluntary role may help you discover new career opportunities that you may have never considered before. If you are still looking for ideas for your graduate roles, try a lot of new things in your voluntary roles to check what fits your interest area.  

Make a real difference: Volunteering your time at a charity helps you make a real and direct impact on the community. It will also help you feel connected to the local area, and your contribution to positive societal change will make a real difference to people’s lives.  


Looking for Volunteer Roles 

There are lot of opportunities with local and national organisations who would welcome international students getting involved. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Volunteer with Local Charities 

One of the main ways of giving back involves volunteering your time at local charities. Liverpool has tons of local charities where you can find volunteering opportunities that suit your skill set, interest area and time schedule.  

If you are looking for a starting point, below are some examples of local Liverpool charities to take into consideration: 

At Everton in the Community, you can choose from over 25 different volunteering opportunities to support wider social causes in the community like mental health illness, dementia and unemployment.  

If you are looking to help seriously and terminally ill children, you can volunteer at Claire House Children’s Hospice. Each volunteer at the Claire House also gets training which is a great way to build your skill set in a real-life work setting.  

A volunteering role at Age UK will enable you to make a difference to the lives of older people by providing them with critical support when they need it the most.  

RASA Merseyside will enable you to provide your support to their charity that helps persons who have experienced sexual violence. Volunteers can choose from various different roles in the organisation and are given full training before start of their roles.  

Providing full on-the-job training and indication programmes, the Whitechapel Centre has a wide range of volunteering opportunities that will help support the cause of homelessness and housing poverty. 

For those looking to make a difference to the lives of cancer patients, the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre has volunteering opportunities that involves meeting and greeting patients and visitors and assisting patients with self check-in. Previous volunteers at the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre describe how meaningful and rewarding their volunteer experience has been.  


Volunteer through the Guild 

Another way of looking for volunteering roles is through the Liverpool Guild of Students. This platform regularly advertises volunteering roles (both online and offline!) for the students of University of Liverpool. Volunteering commitments are as short as once a month so you are sure to find something that suits your availability. If you complete a minimum of 7 hours of volunteer work with the Guild or one of their partner charities, it would be registered on your HEAR! For more information, read this Handshake resource on volunteering through the Guild. 


Volunteer with Guild Societies 

The Liverpool Guild of Students has a number of societies that are dedicated to charitable causes. You could raise awareness about animal welfare in collaboration with the Animal Welfare Society, go along for a beach clean up with the Environmental Science Society, pack menstrual care products at one of the Feminist Society’s events or try your hand at fundraising with the Help the Homeless Society.  


What are you waiting for?

For international students who are away from home, voluntary work can provide you with a great opportunity to make meaningful friendships and make the most out of your experience in the UK. If you feel under confident about your English-speaking abilities, voluntary work is a useful opportunity to practice your English in a professional work setting. It will also give international students an understanding of the work culture in the UK and provide evidence of their ability to work in the UK to their future potential employers.  


While international students are eligible to volunteer, it is important to be aware of any visa restrictions on your student visa. In case of any doubt regarding your visa conditions with regards to volunteering, please contact the International Advice and Guidance Team.