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Volunteer Work

Volunteering your time and energy is a fantastic way to learn and develop useful and marketable skills, meet new people in your field, explore new interests, try out or observe potential jobs and careers, gain experience, give back to your community, and have a great time in the process. Employers and graduate schools alike view the skills and experience gained from volunteering very positively – unpaid experience is still valuable experience.

Choose a Volunteer Work

Consider the following tips when choosing an organization or program:

  • Interests: What activities or tasks do you enjoy undertaking? Are the tasks dependent on a particular skill set? Is this a chance to apply academic knowledge?
  • Time Commitment: How much time per week you would like to devote to the volunteer work? Is this a one-time or short-term or ongoing project?
  • Skills: What skills you would like to develop? Though the work may not be directly related to your study field, consider if you can develop some of these transferrable skills through volunteering - leadership, team work, problem-solving and analysis, project management and organization, interpersonal skill, oral and written communication skills, and knowledge about the organization or the industry.
  • Learn what volunteering is about: Volunteering 101

Recommended Books

Volunteer Books

Volunteering Within and Around McGill

McGill offers many ways for you to get involved and make a difference:

CaPS Peer Educator Program, Community Action Toolkit, Student Associations, Student Life Ambassador Program, Leadership Program Orientation Facilitator, Logistical Volunteer, Health Promotion.

For more information or how to apply:

Volunteering Websites

You can use the following websites to search for a volunteer opportunity by interest/activity and by location.

International Volunteering

Tips for those who are interested in International Volunteering:

  • Areas of Work: Determine whether you want to work with people (e.g. Community development, emergency and relief, education and training, health and nutrition, agriculture and farming) or with environment (e.g. Conservation, wildlife, marine conservation).
  • Important Questions: Some important questions to ask when considering volunteering abroad - How much does it cost? Who offers placements? Is my program ethical? For more questions and answers about international volunteering, consult the book "Volunteer: A Traveller's Guide to Making a Difference Around the World" (page 25 - 45). The book is available at CaPS.
  • For more tips:
    Find (or create) your ideal volunteer opportunity | So, you want to volunteer
  • Articles of Interest - Links to articles on international volunteering.
  • 200 volunteer abroad & study abroad scholarships & grants (Volunteer Forever)
  • Not sure which volunteer program to go with?  Visit: Volunteer Abroad Program Reviews

Find a volunteer abroad position

  • MyWorldAbroad (Registration with your McGill email is required)
    4,000 resources, 250 expert articles and inspiring student stories. Visit What Do You Want To Do? -> Volunteer Abroad for a list of volunteering opportunities and useful tips.
  • Idealist.org - Volunteer opportunities searchable by location and areas of focus.
  • VolulnteerMatch.org (USA) - Match by interest.

Find an organization

The following resources give you a list of organizations providing international volunteering opportunities:

Please note that CaPS and McGill do not endorse any particular websites/services; the listing is for your information only.

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