Meet Ellen, a geography student from the UK, who volunteered on the ‘Green’ expedition; here she shares the benefits of volunteering for university students, based on her own experience with Raleigh.
I was inspired to take part in the Green expedition because I wanted to challenge myself to do something completely different during my summer holidays. The Raleigh expedition gave me the chance to meet new people and to just get outside into nature after a year of an online university.
Enhance my professional and academic understanding
The Green expedition attracted my interest because it offered an opportunity to enhance my university studies and future career in a practical way.
I learnt Geography at university and my lecturers often highlight the importance of the environment and how the climate crisis is having a detrimental impact on vital environmental processes. Taking part in volunteering abroad for university students allowed me to tackle the climate crisis. Sustainability is an important aspect of my studies, so it felt very topical and beneficial to be able to immerse myself in nature and undertake sustainable conservation work first-hand.
I will utilize these skills in the future to enhance my CV when applying to graduate jobs, and when attending interviews to highlight my development of interpersonal skills beyond academia.
Develop Essential Skills
During the conservation phase, my highlight was learning new skills and actively applying them to restore and revive nature.
Removing invasive tree species and planting new trees made me feel like I was making a real difference to Scotland’s environment while learning conservation techniques and utilising these to help nature whilst being away from social media was a real chance to evaluate my priorities. Taking off your walking boots for the day is immensely self-satisfying, as is feeling that you are doing something great, not only for yourself but for the environment also.
Meet new people and learn to work with others
Another benefit of volunteering abroad as a university student was bonding and working with my team.
Trekking and wild camping was a very different experience from anything I had done before, and it was certainly challenging at times, but it did allow me to become more resilient and create some extremely special memories with my team. And of course, the views were a highlight too! Wild camping is a great way to experience nature and waking up to beautiful views after a night under the stars is a very memorable and surreal feeling.
Develop resilience and motivation
During my volunteering, I was able to meet new people, utilise team working skills, and challenge myself. As a result, I feel more confident in difficult situations and that I can tackle any problem.
After the Green exhibition, I felt extremely motivated and inspired. It has improved my confidence and enabled me to become more resilient while pushing myself beyond my comfort zone to achieve things I never thought I could. It has allowed me to become a more well-rounded person. Resilience is an important life skill to have, and it has helped me to adapt and persevere in the most academically stressful periods during my final year at university.
What I plan to do after my life-changing experience with Raleigh
The Raleigh Expedition ‘Green’ has inspired me to do more conservation-related volunteering and I am currently planning my tree planting event at university! Volunteering on environmental projects provides a sense of achievement and that you are actively doing something, however small it may be, to help the climate crisis. Since volunteering I have implemented changes to lead a more sustainable life, such as eating plant-based and shopping plastic-free as much as possible. Next Year I will be looking to take part in more volunteering projects for students.
How You Can Reap the Benefits of Volunteering at Uni
These Expeditions offer great opportunities for students to experience something new, meet like-minded people, and push themselves outside of their comfort zone. You will come away with special memories, new friends, and a resilient mindset to help you achieve anything you want to. It is a truly life-changing experience, try it for yourself!