By David Coles

Quoc Anh Ta is one the Volunteer Centre @ LSE Careers’ student volunteering ambassadors. He has done a huge amount of volunteering over the past few years including cake sales for Amnesty International, helping organise the LSE Vietnamese Cultural Show, being a group leader for the LSE Music Group and he’s also a mentor for other LSE students. We spoke to him about why he thinks other LSE students should volunteer and what his favourite parts of Student Volunteering Week 2013 are.

At LSE, words such as ‘Summer Internship’, ‘Investment banks’ are spoken and heard almost everywhere on campus. On the other hand, people rarely talk about the obscure word ‘volunteering’. It is not because they do not care but most of the time they are overwhelmed by career related information and hence volunteering becomes less of a priority. From my experience, volunteering is one of the most meaningful and fulfilling activities that I have ever done since there are so many underestimated benefits attached to it:

– It can get you a job. A survey carried out by TimeBank through Reed Executive showed that among 200 of the UK’s leading businesses, 73% of employers would recruit a candidate with volunteering experience over one without. I know many students are struggling to get a job/internship in this difficult economic situation but I have a friend who has secured a job at McKinsey after doing voluntary work for a year.

UK retail giants Marks and Spencer also agree, “When recruiting graduates for Marks and Spencer we look for the skills to help make them and our company successful. Volunteering can be a great way to develop those skills.” Helen Feltham, Director UK Retail HR

– It will change your perspectives: Volunteering is a great way to discover what your strengths, weaknesses, hobbies and passions are. In addition, volunteering abroad can help you learn about different cultures and experience how other people live their lives. It will certainly change your perspectives and probably your life forever in a positive way.

– You can give something back: This is one of the most obvious reasons for volunteering as many people aspire to help the less fortunate and to contribute to the society/community they live in. As Albeit Einstein has said: “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile”, volunteering is great way to do so.

Hopefully by now some of you would like to know more about voluntary activities and I am glad to tell you that this week is the Student Volunteering Week which celebrates the efforts of student volunteers across the country. In this week there will be many events and competitions including:

  • A volunteering photography competition. Send us your best snaps of LSE students volunteering in the community. £250 worth of vouchers are up for grabs.
  • City Years Next Generation Challenge. Take part to inspire the next generation and win yourself a Kindle Fire HD.
  • City Year Community Action Day, 16 February. Help transform a school in Streatham.

For more information please visit Student Volunteering Week 2013 and the Volunteer Centre @ LSE Careers.

I hope you guys have a great week and look forward to seeing you at the volunteering events.