Since my undergraduate years in Nigeria, I have consistently participated in various voluntary activities. Although I didn’t receive any opportunities as a direct outcome at the time, I derived immense satisfaction from engaging in these activities. I was highly involved in the Nigerian Red Cross (Unilorin Chapter) and I never grew weary of it.
Fast forward to the beginning of my master’s degree program in Germany, my enthusiasm to join the German Red Cross was palpable. However, due to the demanding schedule of my study program, it became impractical to balance effective participation in the Red Cross while maintaining efficient academic progress. Consequently, I began contemplating alternative voluntary work options that would be less demanding and closer to my university. Given my passion for interacting with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds, I stumbled upon a project called „Transformation for a Sustainable Future in South-East-Asia“ (TranSEA), funded by the DAAD. Intrigued, I decided to reach out to the project coordinator via email, expressing my interest in providing voluntary support by managing their social media account and assisting exchange students arriving at the university. To my delight, within a week, I received a highly favorable response from the coordinator, offering me a position as a student assistant specifically for the role I had expressed interest in. Remarkably, they had been actively searching for someone to fulfill this role.
Several months ago, there was an upcoming event at my university focused on raising awareness about anti-racism. The organizers recognized the importance of having a person of color who could share their personal experiences in Germany to add depth and meaning to the event. When my flatmate, who had some connections to the event coordinator, informed me about this opportunity, I immediately volunteered to deliver a speech about my own experiences as a person of color in Germany. After extensive preparation, the event took place and proved to be a resounding success. Surprisingly, a week later, I received unexpected news that I would be compensated for the speech I had given, which came as a pleasant surprise.
Engaging in volunteer work should always stem from a desire to contribute towards community objectives and find personal fulfillment, rather than seeking personal benefits.
Approximately one year ago, I received an email that was sent to all students in my university. This email called for applications from international students who were interested in promoting the „Study in Germany“ campaign on social media platforms. I was filled with enthusiasm because I wanted to spread the message about the affordability of studying in Germany. Within a few days, I submitted my application, expressing my keen interest in voluntarily promoting Germany’s effective and efficient educational system. Though I cannot recall the exact duration, my application was eventually approved, and I was chosen as a testimonial for the Study in Germany Campaign. While I won’t go into specific details about the benefits I have enjoyed as a testimonial, I can say that I have gained tremendously from this experience. It is also immensely gratifying for me to share my personal experiences with prospective students who aspire to study in Germany.
At present, I am in the midst of preparations to become a federal service volunteer with the German Red Cross, and I am in the process of being accepted into the program. Irrespective of my busy schedule, I am committed to actively engaging in various voluntary services until the day I depart from this world.