I am an international student from Nigeria and I have been studying in Canada for over 2 years. Upon moving to Canada, one of my biggest worries was not being able to actively support and serve the people of my country through volunteer work and participating in youth movements. Like myself, a number of international students struggle with providing help back home, and we end up feeling disappointed in the fact that we may not be able to help in the way we could have if we were there physically. Despite not being able to be physically present, there are still lots of ways I can help out and serve my country. Here are 3 ways I do this:
- Help out with fundraising
One of the biggest ways to help out with efforts in your home country is by donating to different charity organizations that fight for causes you believe in. For example, I set aside 10% of my income to donate to my organization as well as other youth led organizations that support education of underprivileged kids. Additionally, you could partner with local organizations by assisting them with planning virtual fundraising events if you would love to do a lot more than donating.
2. Use social media to support causes
One of the best ways to show support and educate others on your work or the works of other organizations is by using social media. Social media is something that a lot of local organizations in my home country have issues using. I could offer my help to these organizations by creating social media posts for them or helping them manage and grow their presence on social media. Earlier this year I helped a FinTech organization that helps people spend their money wisely and keep track of their expenses with their social media strategies. Of course I am in no way a social media expert but I was willing to do more research and used what I knew about social media to help them reach their goals.
3. Be active in Cultural Associations on Campus
A great way to get hands on volunteer experience is by getting involved with cultural associations on campus. Cultural associations play a big role of connecting students to their roots and supporting their countries. In the past, campus cultural associations have engaged in fundraisers, game nights, productive political discussions and advocated for different causes. I am currently involved with the Nigerian Students Association and we do our best to build a strong support system on campus and help local Nigerian businesses in Toronto.
I made the decision that as much as I would immerse myself in the Canadian and U of T culture, I would never forget my roots and will always find ways to make an impact even though I am not there physically. It’s been a fun and insightful ride and I hope I’d be able to discover more ways to help out as time goes by!