Watch Lucia's story about volunteering with Community InfoSource below:
Hello. I am Lucia. I'm a first year medical student and I volunteer with Community Infosource.
What are your main responsibilities?
I'm an English teacher and I teach English for speakers of other languages. And I teach to asylum seekers and refugees. And we have weekly classes every Wednesday. And it's 1 to 2 hours. It's two teachers. And my responsibilities are just you prep the classes and then you go and you teach the classes. There's a little break and there's also usually announcements to raise awareness about other charities and other opportunities for asylum seekers.
Why did you choose to volunteer?
I was looking to volunteer for a charity that worked with refugees because I have done some work with refugees before and I just really enjoyed it. And I found Community Infosource and I really like how it's very it's led by people with lived experience. So most, most of the board are asylum seekers and refugees. Most of the volunteers are also asylum seekers and refugees. And the way they run the charity, they give opportunit for everyone to become a volunteer, for everyone to come. They also pay for transport and food. If the events happen at lunchtime. So they really make it possible for people to spend zero money and be able to get involved and make a difference. And I also thought it's a different way of getting to know a community. I was new in Glasgow and it's a I really wanted to get to know Glasgow a bit more and there's 10,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Glasgow. So I thought it was a good opportunity to get to know Glasgow and the community more rather than just being in the student bubble.
What have you enjoyed most during your time as a volunteer?
Something I've really enjoyed is how you get to know the people. We do lessons of six weeks each block and some of the students come back for the next blocks and you really get to know their you really get to know them. You really get to make a connection and you see how they improve their English in just six weeks. And they're so keen and their. And I'm a bit of a crazy teacher. I get everyone to stand up and dance and play games and I'm always the bit the clown in the class and everyone is just so keen and so ready to stand up and play all the games. And it's just it's just so much fun and it really is the highlight of my week.
How much of an impact do you feel your volunteering has made?
I think it makes a lot of impact and I think something as simple as just teaching English, which is it's a very basic level of English. I don't I need to do class prep, but it's not a crazy amount of hours and hours of preparation and it gets people it helps people develop their English, and it can be so isolating when you don't know the language of the country you're living in and you can't read the letters that you're getting from the government. You can't even read the signs on how to go if you're in the bus or in the subway or even Google Maps. You can't it's difficult to read if you're not if you don't have the same alphabet, it's difficult to read the titles of the buildings. You don't even know if you're going to a building or a square or and just getting to know that level of English that can help you move around the city and make meet, meet new people and make new connections is so empowering. I think it makes such a big difference.
What would you tell a student who is thinking of volunteering?
I would tell them, Go for it. It always for me, when I was thinking about volunteering, it always took me a bit of convincing myself and figuring out how much time it takes. And I think with Community Infosource it really is as much time as you want. I only give it's 2 hours plus the prep before and it's 2 hours a week. It's really not that much. And you can do online teaching or you can do just the one hour and it really is not that much time and it's so rewarding and it's so impactful and it really is just I don't know, it's just really good. I would just say go for it. I'm still thinking about if it takes time or how much prep or just go give it a try, meet some people and then figure out once you're in, figure out what you want to do in the charity.
If you could sum up your volunteering experience in one word, what would it be?
That's such a difficult question. I think connecting with people, it's two words. So maybe connections, I don't know. But it's you just get to know so many people and you just get to everyone is so different. But at the end of the day, it's just so easy to make new friends and meet new people. And we're all in this new city that is just such an amazing and vibrant city. You just you go and you make such new and strong connections with people. I really recommend it.