When you’re studying English in the UK, you can find yourself spending lots of time with other international students. Whilst you’ll probably be having a great time and making lots of new friends, you can end up feeling a bit disconnected from the city you’re living in; getting to know local people and the local culture can be difficult.
One way to get involved in the local community is to volunteer. Volunteering allows you to meet new people, practise your English and get an experience of ‘real’ life in the UK. It can also help you to get work experience, which can help you to find paid work later on.
A charity called Reach Out is currently looking for new volunteers. Reach Out aims to support children in disadvantaged Manchester communities by raising their aspirations and helping them to create a positive future for themselves. The main focus of their work is mentoring – this involves pairing a volunteer with a child in a Manchester secondary school.
The mentor and the child meet once a week for a few hours at the school to go through homework, improve literacy, numeracy and communication skills, build confidence and reinforce the organisation’s central values of fairness, self-control and self-motivation. Reach Out hopes that through the support of a reliable role model, the children can achieve their goals and develop greater faith in their own abilities.
Reach Out is looking for volunteers who have at least an upper-intermediate level of English, an interest in working with the children and are able to commit to mentoring for one or two hours per week for a minimum of six months (usually starting in October). All volunteers are given training before they start mentoring and full support throughout the year.
If you want some more information about Reach Out, you can visit their website or contact the College. You can also read about two Excel College students who volunteered with Reach Out last year in our newsletter.