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It is International Volunteer Week this week and since VUB is home to many volunteers, we are taking the opportunity to present some of them. Krishan Harkhoe, master student in Photonics Engineering is involved with the International Student Platform of VUB.
Name and first name?
Field of study?
Master in Photonics Engineering
Which volunteering project(s) do you support?
I am volunteering for the International Student Platform of the VUB
What does that mean? What do you do exactly?
The International Student Platform serves to strengthen the international character of VUB. Our mission is to promote integration of the international community and also represent the interests and needs of our international students. As we know, to be part of the student council you have to speak Dutch, which causes loss of valuable feedback from international community. That is where the members of ISP, including me, come in to serve as an advisory organ to the student council.
How long have you been volunteering?
The ISP is quite young, actually we had our first meeting just two weeks earlier. But my own experience of volunteering has its root in my home university, where I also participated in the student council and tutoring system. This semester I also take part in the BRUTUS-project, which facilitates tutoring classes to highschool students in Brussels.
How much time per month do you dedicate to it?
As the ISP just started some weeks ago, we are now planning on how to manage this. We have decided to meet at least twice a month, but there are also tasks we take home with us to finish in our free time. Naturally we also observe the university/campus/website to find points which need improvement, mostly in the context of internationalization, so basically we are alert all the time.
What do you get from volunteering for your personal development?
Definitely time management. Being in the last semester, working to finish you thesis, make some time free for the ISP and not to forget time for friends, certainly needs good skills in time management. Participating in the ISP also polishes my communication skills and international exposure. The latter being very dear to me, because in my one and a half year here in Brussels, I have come across so many nationalities and cultures, my view and approach to the world have changed drastically.
Why would you recommend to others to do volunteering?
I would highly recommend it and not just because it would do good to your CV. But more importantly to also feel the sense of satisfaction when you do something, without expecting something else in return. You get to know other people, you learn to deal with them and last but not least, you have some fun.
Where can people find more information about your volunteering project?
Information on the ISP can be found on https://my.vub.ac.be/en/student-council/international-student-platform, which will be updated with more information soon.
Where can people find fun volunteering jobs?
Actually the ISP was recruiting, but the call closed on the 29th of February. But next semester you can definitely join us, as some of the members will finish their studies and we will need replacements. Exchange students are also welcome.