Studium & Karriere
November 19, 2021

6 Reasons Why Volunteering Helps International Students Succeed In Germany!

Are you studying abroad? While you are experiencing the adventure of a lifetime, you should consider employing some of your time volunteering. According to, 93% of young people want to volunteer. However, only a fraction of them ends up doing it.

Volunteer work can assist you in creating a better environment for yourself and the people around you. Many types of research show that volunteering leads to health benefits like reducing stress, battling loneliness, and building a sense of belonging. Volunteer work may even make you smarter: a 2019 study from John Hopkins University found that volunteering enhanced brain and cognitive functionality.

As an international student, volunteering can become a vital part of your university experience. There are many advantages of volunteering: not only does it make you feel good about yourself, but it can also help you develop new skills, advance your career, and allow you to improve your community!

Volunteering can make you feel better, both in mind and spirit. Now, here are the detailed reasons to consider volunteering in your free time as an international student if you want to make the most out of your university experience:

1.  Develop new skills.

2.  Improve your CV.

3.  Broaden your horizon.

4.  Learn about yourself.

5.  Growing your network.

6.  Do something good for others.


      1. Develop new skills.

As an international student, you can volunteer to obtain new skills or enhance your current set of skills. One of the most underrated, but important qualities that you can pursue while volunteering is Leadership. Leaders are not just the CEOs of companies or the presidents of countries, they are people who make an impact in the world and others. It's not just about leading yourself to inspire others, but rather about getting people to change their choices, lifestyle, values ​​and ideals in order to build a better world through intercultural communities. Empathic leadership is becoming more and more important now and in the future. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural feeling of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of dignity and identity. And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a favorable view of your life and future goals. 

You can also learn new skills by taking on new leadership roles in AIESEC, for example becoming a team leader, vice president of a specific department which includes operations, business development, marketing, finance and talent management. DEGIS also provides wonderful opportunities to its volunteers by allowing them to take on numerous roles. As part of a City Chapter, an international student can take on a role in HR, Marketing, Business Development and support other international students in the city in particular while raising awareness of DEGIS in general. Taking on these roles will not only allow you to become an excellent leader but will also enable you to learn numerous skills which are hard to imbibe otherwise.

Another critical skill you’ll develop amongst the various volunteer benefits is teamwork. Making your project successful will involve working closely with a diverse range of locals and other volunteers, many of whom you might otherwise never interact with. Working in a team with other volunteers and locals will also allow you to enhance your verbal communication. 

As a volunteer doing volunteering work abroad, you will mostly be put in a position of management. Whether this is for a small group of people or a whole team, managing a team effectively will push your career prospects one step further. This will also improve your time management skills. Time management is a crucial productivity hack that you can automatically learn while volunteering.
If you are volunteering abroad, another incredible skill is attached to this experience: learning a new language. Being bilingual is a highly desirable skill.  Living and working in another country is the best way to learn a new language: hearing it spoken around you and using it yourself all the time. You will be wholly immersed in the local culture, giving you the best opportunity to kickstart your speaking abilities. To add to this, you'll have local volunteers with whom you can practice your learnings during your volunteering hours.

      2. Improve your CV.

Volunteering as a young person can lead to fantastic opportunities in your future. The current job market is challenging, with tens or hundreds of people applying for the same job or placement. Volunteer work abroad will give you valuable and unusual experience to add to your CV or resume to help you stand out from the crowd.

Employers prefer to hire potential employees who have worked at volunteer organizations. This is because volunteering is a choice that you've made, so it gives your likely employer the impression that you are hardworking and dedicated to your cause.

If the job you're applying for is similar to the volunteering organization you worked for, this will only make you seem more fitting. Volunteering can lead to full-time work with volunteer organizations as well. After all, they also need workers behind the scenes in a variety of roles.

As most employers only have your CV to figure out whether you’re a good fit, you can include any volunteering experience to help them see how well you fit into their culture. For example, a company that makes regular donations to charity or offers employees a chance to volunteer their time during working hours will see that you’re a great fit. As a result, this is likely to give you an advantage over the competition.

It can be pretty challenging to get a job when you have little experience, but volunteering provides you with the opportunity to change that. Not only is it a great way to give back, but it also gives you something relevant to boast about in your applications!
The US-based Corporation for National and Community Service tracked more than 70,000 jobless people between 2002 and 2012 and discovered that those who volunteered had a 27% better chance of getting a job than those who didn’t. So, according to this data, having volunteering experience in your CV will always carry weightage when you apply for any job.


      3. Broaden your horizon.

Volunteering is a fantastic way to leave your comfort zone and collect new experiences. It pushes you to engage with people you would typically not spend time with and helps you get to know different approaches. 

Living inside your comfort zone can lead to stagnation and hinder you from reaching your goals. Volunteering offers you the tools and resources to explore the unknown in order to broaden your horizon and tap into your full potential

As a volunteer, you are automatically shaking off your everyday routine and stepping into the unknown. You often encounter people with a different background than your own in an environment that is new and unfamiliar. This change helps you to shift perspective and adapt. It forces you to let go of any preconceived notions and grow. 

This development applies especially to volunteering experiences abroad. Volunteering in a country that is not your home country brings more challenges but also more learning opportunities. As a volunteer abroad, you get to know different people and cultures. This exposure helps foster your intercultural competence, particularly the understanding of, sensitivity to, and communication with that culture and the people associated with it. 

Volunteering abroad also strengthens your ability to adapt to new situations. Being a volunteer in a foreign country can be challenging. Often you do not speak the language, have never tasted the food, and feel out of place culturally. Learning to immerse yourself in the culture is a process and volunteering abroad provides the adequate framework for you to do so. As a result, you grow as a person and can more easily adapt to any new environment.
AIESEC offers young people (18-29) the possibility to take part in programmes that foster intercultural competence. At AIESEC, they can choose from a wide variety of volunteering opportunities all over the world. As an AIESEC Global Volunteer, young people are able to support the non-profit organisations abroad for a period of 6-8 weeks that contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals in some shape or form. This could be an initiative dealing with humanitarian, environmental, or personal issues in the respective country or region.


      4. Learn about yourself.

Volunteering is a great method to find out more about yourself. It nudges you to look at your own life differently by engaging with people in a contrasting societal position to your own and fosters a sense of gratitude in the process. 

Living in a bubble of privilege can foster a sense of disconnect with reality and prevent you from looking inside and discovering your sense of self. In doing so, volunteering helps keep you grounded while increasing your confidence.

As a volunteer, you are exposed to people of less privileged backgrounds and at a disadvantage in society. This opens your eyes to a different reality than your own. In the process, volunteering makes you appreciate everything you have in life and serves as a reminder of what really matters. It strongly promotes your ability to grow internally.

Volunteering allows you to connect with humanity in a special way. Interacting and engaging with other people on a regular basis nourishes a sense of belonging and strengthens humility.  As a volunteer, due to the vulnerability of the environment and the type of people you are working with, these sentiments are exaggerated even further than under normal circumstances.  
Similarly, volunteering increases your sense of confidence. As a volunteer, you are actively helping other people in particular and the greater public as a whole. This altruistic action can still your sense of purpose in life and also strengthens your feeling of achievement. This feeling leads to heightened self-pride and an overall boost of confidence. This confidence boost positively reflects on the outlook of your future and creates a clearer sense of self.


      5. Growing your network.

One of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships is to commit to a shared activity together. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, especially if you are new to an area. It strengthens your ties to the community and strengthens your support network, exposing you to people with common interests, neighborhood resources, and fun and fulfilling activities. Volunteering abroad gives you the perfect opportunity to develop a global network of colleagues and mentors. The benefit of having international peers is that you will have the chance to learn an abundance of knowledge and information from your surrounding network. The other significant benefit would be having a global network of friends.

As an international student, if you do not have former work experience, volunteering may be a way to show employers what you are capable of. For example, volunteering shows that you can take the initiative – after all, you found the time to help others while also managing your studies! You can also talk about how your volunteer work developed your soft skills, such as being a team player, planning, and time management.

Many companies have a solid social responsibility core, and showing your humane side displays an excellent cultural fit. Candidates who volunteer stand out positively because their passion and involvement with the community are evident. Volunteering can add depth to your resume and help get you noticed. Of course, any work you do as a volunteer will be unpaid, but this shouldn’t matter. The fact you’ve put yourself forward to work without financial reward will show your dedication to your working area. 
Volunteer experience can also be considered as a professional experience. On your resume, list the organization and dates of your service, and instead of using the title "volunteer," use your responsibilities as a title - "project coordinator" or "instructor." Mention your accomplishments, results, or awards like any other job without being misleading. In this way, you can provide a green light to your employer to hire you.

      6. Do something good for others.

Aside from benefits to yourself, volunteering also brings tremendous benefits to others.  Indeed, the impact of volunteerism on individuals in particular and society in general is not to be underestimated. 

While volunteering leads to numerous benefits for the volunteers themselves, altruism is at the core of volunteering. A volunteer is concerned with the welfare of others and engages in volunteering to improve that welfare. 

As a volunteer, work often involves interacting with groups of people and individuals who are at the edge of society. Based on the fundamental need of human engagement, the goal of the volunteering activity is to improve the well-being of marginalized individuals by integrating them into society and making them feel like they belong.

Volunteering therefore has a great impact on the individuals at the receiving end of the volunteering activity in addition to society as a whole. By fostering individual participation in communities and societies, volunteering increases social inclusion at a wider scale. In doing so, volunteering strengthens entire communities and civil society.
The Buddy Program at DEGIS offers incoming international students a smooth transition into student life in Germany. It connects incoming international students with international students already based in Germany. The goal of the program is for incoming international students to have a point of contact upon arrival in Germany that guides them through the integration process at university, their city and German society in general. The Buddy Program is driven by volunteers that want to improve the life of others by promoting their social inclusion.

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