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Student Stories: Volunteers in the Big City is an ongoing profile series and we’re always looking to hear what UCL students are getting up to. If you would like to contribute your own story about your volunteering experience, please fill in this webform.

Our Guest Blogger, Jenny Murphy, looks back on the Profile project’s first years and explores some of our favourite interviews

The diversity of opportunities at UCL is something we strive to showcase through this project, and through the year, we’ve captured a number of different views and experiences of students.’ Read more

Ava Halvai is a Befriender Volunteer and the Current Holder of the Octavia Foundation Befriender of the Year Award. 

 I feel like we always think ‘we’re giving back’ by volunteering but you gain so much from it as well. Read more

Lara Parienti is a second year BSc Applied Medical Sciences student and a Patient Anti-Boredom Volunteer at the UCH Cancer Centre, with UCH Cancer Fund

“It’s just such a small thing to do, but it really makes a big impact” Read more

Dan Hadary is a MSC Public Policy Student and a Data & Questionnaire Analyst Volunteer for Kingsgate Community Centre. 

‘It’s just a really positive atmosphere and a really good way to spend a day a week.’ Read more

Liluo Yan is an MSc Global Prosperity student and a Volunteer Tutor at Action Tutoring.

”It’s useful to think of maths as a tool. You don’t have to like mathematics, but it will help you a lot in the future and present” Read more

Yiwei Wang is a second-year BSc Psychology student and a volunteer befriender for the Association of Jewish Refugees.

“At first, I just wanted to try something I really enjoy and now it’s like having a friend.” Read more

Matthew Appleton is a second year BSc Geography student, and a volunteer befriender for Holborn Community Association.

I just think that gives an opportunity very different to what you’d get in UCL; the opportunity to meet someone with a completely different age, perspective, or worldview“ Read more

Ellen Sowerby is a final year BA History with a Year Abroad Student, based in the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, and volunteered as a part-time Policy and Influencing Intern at CLIC Sargent.

“The team looked after me and wanted me to get a lot out of it, which made all the difference.” Read more

Sarah Wong is a medical student, who is intercalating in Medical Anthropology, and volunteers as a Mentor at the Refugee Therapy Centre in Holloway.

It’s such a good opportunity to meet people from diverse backgrounds“ Read more

Fausta Gabola is in her third year studying BSc Human Sciences student. She’s volunteered with Salusbury World Refugee Centre, where she helped out as a Homework Club Volunteer.

“I honestly just really loved seeing them learn, and teaching children was great… I felt like I was really helping them out” Read more

Ilaria Gimondi is a Chemical Engineering PhD candidate, and volunteers in the Information Age Gallery at the Science Museum in Kensington

“The team of volunteers is amazing – they want to teach you, they want to involve you”. Read more

Khushboo Khatri is a fourth-year Medicine student, and the chairperson for Spectrum UCL

“Knowing that I’m helping, even if it’s just one person, it’s just a very nice feeling”. Read more

Adam McGee is a Final Year BA History student and Project Leader for the Student-Led Project, Politeach

“I’ve enjoyed the idea that we can run a charity project that has tangible impacts around London whilst still working with fellow students’.” Read more.

Tara Nelson is in her first year studying BASc. Arts and Sciences. She volunteered for Action Against Hunger and UCL’s Dance Society, where she participated in a charity showcase and helped out at a charity auction. 

“I think it’s just the feeling you get with volunteering, there’s nothing else you can really do to get that feeling.” Read more.

Melike Ozkan, in her first year studying Medicine, volunteered at Over The Wall as a ‘Camp Teammate Volunteer’ for a week during the holidays. 

Volunteering really gave me a chance to be a ‘kid’ again, and spend a week surrounded by genuine, hard-working volunteers and campers!” Read more.

Clara Baltay is a second year Biochemistry student who volunteered at The Salters’ Company One-Off ‘Spooktacular Science’ event this Halloween.

“One-Off Events are a hugely rewarding and fun way to spend a day - and easily fit around busy schedules!” Read more.    

Pamela Iturra Gonzalez has just finished her MA in Special and Inclusive Education. Throughout the year she has volunteered for over 100 hours with Kith and Kids.

“I think the best thing about volunteering is feeling that you are doing something meaningful. Volunteering while you are studying is a way of making a social contribution with an immediate impact.” Read more.

Stina Van Der Straeten is in her third year of Information Management for Business BSc, she spent two months this summer volunteering full time with Carnaval del Pueblo Association for the run up to their big festival event. Carnaval del Pueblo is a company with charitable status situated in Elephant and Castle, that works to put on Latin American events to bring the Latin American community closer together in London.

“I instantly fell in love with this organisation, as it was a very intimate team with a lot of passion.” Read more.

Shumell Gul has completed her first year of Biochemical Engineering, during the year she volunteered with Great Ormond Street Hospital once a week.

“Volunteering in a world-famous hospital gives you the chance to meet and learn from the best in the field.” Read more.

Caitland Lomas has been volunteering for the 5th Bloomsbury Rainbows on the UCL campus for an hour and a half weekly during her 2nd year of Geophysics.

“Volunteering brings a new perspective to understanding how to deal with unusual situations, meeting deadlines and coping with other people’s emotions.” Read more

Mayowa Dada is in the first year of his PhD research degree on Lightweight materials, within the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Over the past academic year, he has volunteered with Westminster Libraries (Maida Vale Library), Action Tutoring (Quintin Kynaston Academy) and Fitzrovia Youth in Action, FYA (Westminster Kings College).

“I feel more fulfilled, having been able to contribute in making positive impacts to the lives of young ones.” Read more.

Maya Howard is a 2nd year Archaeology and Anthropology student who has spent the past year as Project Leader of Learning through Artefacts, one of our Student-Led Projects which creates artefact handling and arts & crafts sessions for home-educating families.

“I have had the opportunity to meet new people from different degree subjects and be in a team that can work together.” Read more.

Lucy Rogers is about to start the third year of her English degree. While at UCL, she has volunteered on a weekly basis with the Charles Dickens Museum and at a One-Off Volunteering Opportunity, the Bloomsbury Festival 2016.

“I feel that I have learnt so many valuable things, not only in terms of my academic career and future employment, but my own personal interests and relationships too.” Read more.

Matthew Ansell is a 2nd year Arts and Sciences student. During the past academic year he has volunteered with CoachBright, an organisation dedicated to helping disadvantaged students access top universities.

“Working on an issue like educational inequality, which is so relevant to an institution like UCL, has had a profound influence on my perspectives on my studies.” Read more.

Arundathi Shaji Shanthini has just finished the first year of her degree, studying in the Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering. She has undertaken extensive volunteering this year, with The Hackney Pirates and Action Tutoring. She also volunteers with Mathomaniacs, one of our Student-Led Projects.