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.
Please note that CaPS and McGill do not endorse any particular websites/services; the listing is for your information only.
Consider the following tips when choosing an organization or program:
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?
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?
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.
McGill offers many ways for you to get involved and make a difference. Consult the following links for more information or how to apply.
On-campus volunteer opportunities
- Students Helping Students
- CL&E Volunteer Opportunities
- Macdonald Campus Student Affairs Office - Volunteer Opportunities
Opportunities within and around McGill
You can find opportunities by volunteering in a community, a club or student-led group. The following sites provide a list of local communities and clubs.
- McGill's Community Outreach Program
- ASB - Alternative Spring Break
- SSMU Volunteer Service Database
- SSMU Clubs
- For more opportunities: Engage McGill
Opportunities in Montreal
You can find volunteering opportunities through local agencies.
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).
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". The book is available at CaPS.
If you are not sure which volunteer program to go with, consult this site: Volunteer Abroad Program Reviews at Volunteer Forever. You may also check out the 200 Volunteer Abroad & Study Abroad Scholarships & Grants for funding.
International volunteering websites
- Peace Corps
If you are interested in working for Peace Corps, please consult the application tips and sample CVs (Agriculture, Community & Economic Development, Education, Environment, Health, Youth Development)