Enhance Your Canadian Experience Through Volunteer Work

Enhance Your Canadian Experience Through Volunteer Work

When you perform a service with a closed heart and mind, the experience is completely different compared to doing it because you really want to.  That is why volunteering is so important; you’re doing it because you want to not because you have to.  It’s a great way to open your heart and to feel more connected to people and to your community.   One of the better-known benefits of volunteering is the impact on the community.

Unpaid volunteers are often the glue that holds a community together.  Volunteering allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place.  On July 1st, our students at Greater Toronto Language School (GTLS) volunteered their whole day at the Streetsville Canada Day Celebration.  Our students made me so proud.  It was 28 degrees Celsius with the humidex well into the 30’s and not one complaint did I hear from them.  We were in the children’s section and many parents came up to me to express their gratitude.   Once I started speaking with the parents I told them about the school and they were very interested about where the students came from and why they were in Canada.   Therefore, volunteering strengthens your ties to the community and broadens your support network, exposing you to people with common interests, neighborhood resources, and fun and fulfilling activities.

Most importantly, volunteering sparks happiness, as many studies have demonstrated.   When researchers at the London School of Economics examined the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness in a large group of American adults, they found the more people volunteered, the happier they were, almost 10% happier!   A key risk factor for depression is social isolation.  Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn protects you against stress and depression when you’re going through challenging times; for instance, when you’re an international student far away from friends and family.  Moreover, I’m born and bred here in Canada and I still get a big happy, loving feeling when I think of my volunteer hours at the Canada Day Celebration.  I’m proof it makes you feel good and fulfilled!

Volunteering can also increase your self-confidence, self-esteem, and overall life satisfaction.  You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment.  Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity.  And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.  So how can you say NO to volunteer!

In summary, volunteer work can be meaningful, interesting and an energizing escape from your day-to-day routine of work and school.  Volunteering also provides you with renewed creativity, motivation, and vision that can carry over into your personal and professional life.   Volunteering is an integral part of the English learning experience here at GTLS.  This is an example of how English comes alive.  The students are given the opportunity to interact with Canadian citizens living in the community.

Thank you again to all our students!

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