Thursday, 23 January 2014
A University of Worcester student has urged her peers to explore all opportunities open to them whilst studying at the University after gaining valuable experience on a volunteer project in Asia.
Alice Mills, who is in the third year of her Primary Initial Teacher Education degree, was encouraged by two of her lecturers, Gareth Dart and Rachel Barrell, to apply for a volunteering position in Malaysia last year.
Having secured the post of Volunteer Co-ordinator with conservation charity Ecoteer, she spent over two months working for the organisation in the Perhentian Islands, from where she has recently returned.
She explains: “My lecturers were so keen for students to apply for the post as it offered extensive teaching and organisational opportunities. After looking into it further, I knew it was an opportunity I had to grab with both hands, so I sent off my application.
“A week later, I was informed that I had been shortlisted, and then had secured the position. My lecturing team were delighted for me and very supportive, giving me permission to fit the trip around my studies.”
During her time with the charity, Alice was responsible for the day-to-day running of the programme as the first point of contact for all volunteers, and was also able to broaden her teaching experience.
“I met with volunteers of all ages from all over the world,” she says. “I worked with the local project leader to develop and deliver a practical programme which introduced the volunteers to the major aspects of conservation and community development within the islands.
“I was also able to get involved in teaching, and taught the local children subjects such as music, English, geography, science and art, with a focus on eco-friendly behaviour.
“I also delivered adult English classes, lessons on communicating with the tourists and helped the locals devise advertising, marketing and sales strategies for the businesses they set up to sell a range of local delicacies.”
Alice was supported by the University’s Scholarship panel, and having now returned to Worcester to complete her studies, she is eager that other students in a similar situation become aware of the benefits of embarking on such an adventure.
“I learnt a great deal during my time with Ecoteer, and I’m very grateful to the University and my lecturers for their support. I would definitely urge anyone who has the chance to do something similar to take the opportunity.”