Shweta Sastri,

By Shweta Sastri, Managing Director, Canadian International School, Bangalore

Social service and volunteering are acts of kindness benefiting the community. At international schools, students are encouraged to volunteer with numerous NGOs and schools for the underprivileged to understand societal problems and work toward the betterment of society. It greatly helps students in the long run in developing a benevolent approach in life. Here’s why social service is fundamental for students and a great learning experience:

Helps develop and learn new skills: Social work is a diverse field and students are encouraged to learn new skills such as fundraising, networking, and communication, to name a few, and multi-task accordingly. For some, volunteering during school can be a route to experience new career paths. Volunteering also helps students decipher what to pursue in university and opens up doors to several different opportunities.

Gives a sense of purpose: Participating in social service can be meaningful and interesting for students, especially when they partake in activities that they are passionate about. Volunteering also helps students develop empathy, get a sense of fulfilment when the people they work with are benefitted, and develop their character, and this, in turn, gives them a sense of accomplishment and purpose.

Motivates students: One of the primary reasons students of international schools choose to partake in social service is to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Students that are volunteering feel that their efforts are benefiting others and their skills are making a difference to the community, thus a motivational factor.

Gives a greater understanding of societal problems: Social service is known for its impact on the betterment of the community. Volunteering allows international students to connect with society and understand the problems that the communities face. Students that volunteer can also develop their community awareness and help them integrate into the local communities outside of school, contributing to the development of socially-sensitive adults.

Provides career opportunities: Students at international schools are given the opportunity to try out various fields of work and gain experience without making a long-term commitment. Providing an option to sample various fields allows students to identify the things that they enjoy and help them build their career goals. If every once in a while, they get the opportunity to volunteer to do a new job, they can personally explore for themselves the career path they wish to take.

There are numerous NGOs that work in the social service field and very experienced people reach out to and mobilise people to lead a better life. These days, social work is recognized globally and governments present awards to those who have worked very hard to create a better society. After the Nobel Prize, the Ramon Magsaysay Award, which is considered the Asian Nobel, is presented every year to people who have demonstrated social commitment. Students can look up to award winners and develop community work as an option. Students get the opportunity to work in different sectors such as animal welfare, helping underprivileged children, and assisting in a home for the elderly, which may then play a major role in the choice they make in the future.

International schools also develop their skill sets in ways that will offer multiple options to students to work in communities across the country or even abroad. With volunteer work being recognised as one of the best means to reach out to people, students can proudly associate with any one of them to work and get a sense of satisfaction. At the end of the day, service to society is the best possible choice to make in generating a sense of fulfilment.