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Clare Holdsworth Department of Geography University of Liverpool.

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Presentation on theme: "Clare Holdsworth Department of Geography University of Liverpool."— Presentation transcript:

1 Clare Holdsworth Department of Geography University of Liverpool

2  Policy push supporting volunteering in recent years  Little empirical research  Institutional aspects rather than individual student experiences  Many claims made for volunteering but how do they correspond with student experiences?  Developing a more critical, but empirically informed, understanding of volunteering and ‘the’ student experience

3  Grounded study  Pilot study - 18 interviews (plan to double this number) and 1 Focus group  University of Liverpool  Biographical Narrative approach

4  Recruited through Online message board and to student volunteer database  Criteria: respondents had at some time as a student undertaken a volunteering activity  Variety of activities, but all with ‘people’ based groups, some off-campus as well as on campus and UK and non-UK based, some service learning.  Most students more than one activity (only one has done ‘one’ activity)  10 volunteered prior to University  5 male, 13 female, all aged between 19 and 32

5  It was kind of, it was kind of a CV bump up but also like you know doing something good, so it was a win/win kind of thing. Liam  I got into volunteering in the second year of my Bachelor’s course and the reason why I did that was because I kind of felt the impending you know me having to get a job, and I didn’t really have that much experience. Jon  I did it a lot to like build a CV but as well I wanted to find out what profession, so I’ve actually been eliminating medical professions as I’ve gone through all my things! Bronwyn

6  And I got into it because when I came to uni, I did psychology with the idea to go on and do educational psychology, but the old route used to be that you needed to teach for two years first, so I did the volunteering to get experience in the classroom and just for like personal experience of seeing what a classroom was like and being able to experience it. Stacey

7  I guess it sort of indirectly helps you in a way like initially to get the junior doctor jobs that you have to fill in an application for. But that’s not the reason I’m doing it. I think it’s not something just to put on my CV Nina  Well one of the things, a pragmatic sense that I needed to get a job after university because I, well I know what it’s like not to have money … but at the same time I was sceptical. So I went in with the idea that I could take what I wanted from it and discard the rest, you know just kind of like a philosophy I have for a lot of things. Jon

8  I think it just helped expand my experiences and for me to gain more of an insight into education in general because some schools you go into and they’re top schools, like they’re in nice areas so the pupils want to come and learn, whereas other schools, like inner city areas, it’s a different, like I’m not saying that people in these areas aren’t as… but inner city are quite often not as privileged in like things and the children aren’t as privileged, they don’t have as much opportunity and stuff, they don’t really want to go to school. But it made me like be able to see the different experiences of the children and like it just expanded my experience of the schools in general and classrooms in general. Stacey

9  I don’t see a lot of old people, I see them but I don’t know them, so – and coming from the perspective like I’m living in the UK and just going home three times a year it doesn’t really give me a, I want to get a perspective of what old people are really like in the Hong Kong setting, day to day living. And that really shocked me because they were living in bunk beds and they didn’t have a lot of money and you talked to them and they don’t stay at home because it’s that awful. Amy

10  And so if you’re giving them the opportunity to do something that they, that able-bodied kids do and they can do it and you spend the time and you help them do it, they basically, the look on their faces, essentially it’s like the look on their face when they do it, you can tell they’re happy and they’re really happy Dan

11  I don’t, no I don’t think so, I mean I think it benefited me but I don’t think like, I don’t really think like the volunteering actually like helped towards my degree or anything like that. Mia  Well I suppose you have to work out whether you come to university to have fun and study your favourite subject which is why I do volunteering, it’s to have fun and get people knowing about and enjoying my favourite subject. Or do you come to university to work and get a qualification and is that maybe why we would do volunteering too. Eva

12  Oh I’m very pro change, I like doing things that are exciting and scary and I like throwing myself into new environments with people that I don’t know, I guess that’s just part of my personality. Scary and fun are almost a little bit synonymous in my head. Eva  Scary again! More scariness, that’s what I tend to do, I tend to throw myself at something and then be oh now I have to deal with it! Katie

13  There was another motive for me wanting to volunteer, it wasn’t just getting experience, it was actually a confidence kind of building thing, to meet more people and stuff because my interpersonal skills at the time weren’t very good, so I kind of you know wanted to be exposed to loads of different things in an effort to try and you know build that up. Jon  I suppose it’s just, I think the main thing was I wanted to get a bit more confidence and … Confidence in what? Confidence in …? Confidence in just like how to sort of deal with people Nina

14  And the two of us just decided oh we’d just like to do volunteering you know, just for ourselves, to make ourselves feel good, you know to know that we were giving something back to you know other people. And because really it is a once in a lifetime thing really, it’s quite hard to get into on your own back, and if you’ve got the support from the university and you know that they’re going to be providing a decent place, you know that’s not too risky! Danielle

15  Kind of yeah, but that was round here, but when I actually got to go away and like get to know them and everything, they were really nice people. I think that’s why I wanted to take part in volunteering, like form connections Liam

16  Imogen: But no like the people down at [hostel name], they’re a lovely group of people. I think there’s about seven main of us and then there’s been a few that have come now and again, like throughout the year. And have they become friends? Do you see them outside of the volunteering activities? Imogen: Yes from time to time, not loads and loads, but just like occasionally we’ll do something.

17  I was so open minded and expectant going to university and because of that I was rewarded with a great amount of fulfilment. But then I discovered a whole other, I mean for me kind of life had been school and then a very small social circle of friends. So Edinburgh, suddenly there was this explosion of community and culture and suddenly I didn’t need the social networking of university and then on top of that my mind was becoming aware that actually there was more to life than school and sometimes school doesn’t have all the answers. Matilda

18  it was a big part I’d say because as a job in the future I’d like it to be fun, I mean I’m doing something for free, so I’d rather like have a good time when I can Steve  like you know it should be sort of fun, it should be something that you enjoy doing, it shouldn’t be sort of like a chore, like doing so many hours a week just so you can put it on your CV, if you’re doing something that you enjoy doing, you know it’s not, you’re not necessarily doing it just to make you look good on your CV. Dan

19  Some calls are, yes, some calls they end very positively some calls, some calls are just mutual, some calls they put the phone down, some calls you end and it’s just when they get upset and when they’re crying or, it tends to be at night when they’ve been drinking and they’re crying and you kind of think are you sleeping or you’ve done something to yourself, you really worry. I had one phone call that I was in tears because I didn’t know what was going on and I couldn’t work out, and I found it really hard to deal with because there’s no ending, they don’t ring back. Amy

20  Diversity of experiences and motivations  Challenge normative views of students and university life  Student volunteers do not fit the conventional stereotypes of student life, but moreover neither do they conform to normative expectations of why young people volunteer.  Reflective on their experiences, but to differing degrees


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