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Volunteering culture

Volunteering Culture: and 4 ways you can benefit as a newcomer

Welcome to the ultimate crash course in Vancouver's not-so-secret treasure: its bustling volunteering culture! Imagine a city where sightseeing and hip cafes are only the beginning; it's also a place where volunteering is just as cool as hiking Grouse Mountain. This article is about why volunteering is the key not only to getting to know better this city but also to many other things that could help you as a newcomer. Here, we’ll tell you all about it ;)

1. Develop your network

Here’s an important fact for you… did you know that according to some estimates, 65 to 85% of job openings are never listed online? That’s right! Most job openings are never posted online, and the reason why it’s that most of them are filled via networking.

That’s why volunteering once you arrive could be crucial for you ;) As it will help you build your Canadian network. As a newbie to Canada, you might not know many people during your first few weeks or months here. You might be unable to actively connect with locals due to cultural barriers. Volunteering gives you the chance to connect with like-minded people, both newcomers, and residents, and expand your social and professional networks. So, remember this, if Vancouver were a party, its volunteering scene would be the dance floor where everyone's invited.

2. Gain Canadian experience

If you are not yet in Canada you probably don’t know this but, having “Canadian Work Experience” is a thing here. And if you don’t have any, it will make things more complicated when you look for a job. However, volunteering is a good way to gain the much-desired “Canadian experience”. Moreover, you can always ask the company you volunteered with to provide reference letters, which can be useful in your job applications ;)

3. Boost your skills

Still not convinced about the benefits of volunteering? Well, here this out. There was a survey conducted by Statistics Canada, where many people mentioned that their volunteer activities had given them a chance to improve or develop new skills. Especially as newcomers! Which many found their language skills getting better quite fast thanks to this. What else does this study find? Here is some data:

  • Over 30% of people reported that working as a volunteer had increased their knowledge of subjects such as the local health system, women’s or political issues, criminal justice, or the environment. All important topics you should learn about when arriving in a new country.

  • 64% said their interpersonal skills had improved,

  • Over 40% percent mentioned that the volunteer experience had improved their communication skills,

  • Around 39% reported having improved organization and fundraising skills and,

  • Almost a third felt that their technical skills and office work improved as well

4. Keep yourself busy so you don’t get depressed

Volunteering can help you gain positive life experiences, empathy, and compassion. It's quite simple to feel lonely, homesick, and melancholy as a new immigrant in a distant nation, far from your friends and family (we are serious about this). So being active in the community can keep you busy and help you take care of your mental health. Plus, volunteering is an excellent way to explore the area, pick up new interests, and engage in travel. It can ease your stress and give you a sense of direction.

Now, if all of these previously mentioned reasons why Volunteering is important for you are not enough, you might want to check out this conversation we had with a professional career advisor at one of the best colleges in Vancouver. She has some other great insights that will help you boost your career 😉

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