Volunteering during your time at LSE has many benefits but one of the biggest is that can help you settle in to London. It’s not unusual to feel a little overwhelmed when arriving in such a big city, starting on your course and trying to do all those others things that life throws at you. In this blog we give you four reasons why we think volunteering can help you settle in to London and feel part of this incredible city.
1. Make new friends
Volunteering is a fantastic way to make new friends. Meeting people who believe in a similar cause instantly gives you something to talk about. Whether its cleaning up a local park, mentoring a school child or welcoming refugees to London you’ll definitely have something to bond over. Many feed back that they enjoyed meeting students from different courses from them or you might make friends with someone who is completely separate to LSE at the charity you’re volunteering with. Don’t worry if you feel a little shy, the LSE Volunteer Centre runs one-off volunteering opportunities that are aimed at people new to volunteering or to London. Just sign up on LSE CareerHub to attend.
2. Discover new places
If you live in hall of residence near LSE it can be really tempting to stay in zone 1 and we don’t blame you. However, volunteering is a brilliant way to explore the city that you’re living in and look to escape the “LSE bubble”. The Volunteer Centre has opportunities all across London and students often report back how fun it is to see somewhere new. The good news is that most charities will pay your travel expenses, but please remember to ask this before you start volunteering.
3. Feel part of the community
Whether you petition for a cleaner environment, give advice at a pro-bono law centre or coach football to a children’s team you will get a sense of feeling part of the community. It will give you ownership over an issue that care about and bring you closer to those that you’re volunteering with and for. Students also report back that volunteering gives them the sense of feeling part of LSE too.
4. Understand London
London can be a confusing place. Its busy, loud and sometimes doesn’t feel that welcoming. Scratch beneath the surface though and you’ll find the majority of Londoners are incredibly friendly. Thousands dedicate their lives to making the city a nicer place for us all and if you connect with them through volunteering it’ll give you a sense of why this city is the way it is and how you can fit right in and make a success of it.
We hope these four reasons have encouraged you to volunteer and become a Londoner.