January 28, 2021

Volunteering as an International Student

In a recent episode of CAEL Live, we spoke Shawn Silverstone, Director, International Marketing and Recruitment at School District No. 43 about the importance of volunteering for international students. He shared the following with us:

Why is volunteering important for international students?

  • Volunteering is beneficial for a number of reasons: it helps you to practice your English, it helps you meet new people and make friends and network with those individuals, and it helps you to get familiar with your community. This is especially helpful for international students who are thinking of immigrating after their studies, as it gives you an in-depth look at your possible new home.
  • Volunteering also helps you build new skills that you might not otherwise get to learn, and in addition, helps you to build self-confidence and self-esteem.

How can volunteering help you in your career in the future?

  • Volunteering is not just advantageous for your university and college application; volunteering provides you with real experience in your chosen field of study, and gives you the chance to experience what working in your chosen field is like before you graduate, and can help you figure out if this is the career your are most interested in.
  • Volunteering also helps you develop a wide range of skills that are invaluable in the workplace, like communication skills, time management skills, interpersonal skills, and more. Volunteer experience demonstrates to employers that you are able to handle a variety of tasks, and balance your work duties with other important priorities, such as your school work.

What impressions do employers get when seeing volunteer experience on a resume?

  • Volunteer experience, in addition to signaling to employers that you are able to balance your work, demonstrates that you’ve done something in your field other than just schoolwork, it provides you with a portfolio of work experience that speaks to you interest beyond just academics.

What can students do during their volunteer work to make the most of the opportunity?

  • Volunteering is a great opportunity to experience your industry, so ask as many questions as you can. You get an inside look at the workforce in the industry you are exploring, so this is a great opportunity to refine your interests and help you determine exactly what about this industry is most interesting to you.
  • Volunteering is also a great networking opportunity, and a chance to meet individuals who can help you learn more about your field of study, so don’t be afraid to reach out to your volunteer coordinators and colleagues to get more advice and information about the work you are doing. This inside knowledge can be invaluable, and help you get a deeper understanding of what it is like to work in a given field once your studies are finished.


  • Volunteering is a great way to meet new friends, expand your understanding of a potential career path, and build new skills that will help you in your future career.
  • Volunteering is also an excellent opportunity to test-drive your future: learn from the inside about the kinds of work you could be doing when you graduate, network with professionals who can give you valuable advice, and determine how you will move towards meeting your career goals!
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