I like being with older people and children
I am an international student from China. I study Waste Water Treatment, a specialist area of Environmental Engineering, at UNSW. I have been in Sydney for 18 months, and 12 of those have been spent as a volunteer with SECC.
When I came to Sydney I wanted to experience something new, something different.
I was looking for a volunteer job in aged care on SEEK.com, and found two roles with South Eastern Community Connect (SECC).
like the feeling of being with older people and children. I am at my most patient and calm when I am with them.
I already volunteer in a nursing home, where I visit a lady who only speaks Chinese.
I had never heard of a playgroup when I was in China
Sue showed me the roles she had available, and one of them was playgroup.
I had never heard of a playgroup in China, but I love children, so I chose that.
I am involved with all kinds of tasks at playgroup.
I help set up; I pack up at the end; I keep an eye on children when their parents are chatting; I help prepare and serve morning tea; and I help with craft or play with the kids.
I also like chatting with parents, and sometimes I get to translate.
Many international students try to experience new things and learn about their new culture, but they often fail because they end up working in Chinese restaurants or on campus.
think they would benefit from volunteering, too.
I see the people at SECC as my friends
In China volunteering exists mostly around disasters, like a major earthquake that happened 10 years ago in my hometown.
People don’t value volunteering the way they do here.
At SECC I am treated like an employee. The only difference is that I don’t get paid, but I am still an important part of the program.
In China, young people have no motivation to do unpaid work. But here, wherever I go, I am still always the youngest volunteer. Seeing a young man from China volunteering is new to many, but I think it can become more of a norm.
My friends envy me for the role I have, and there would be many who would like the opportunity to volunteer like this. So hopefully I’ll see someone younger than me at the next volunteering event.
Become a Volunteer
We have people in a huge variety for roles - from directly with clients to working behind the scenes, from helping occasionally with events to regular weekly programs.
If you think volunteering at playgroup or anywhere else Within SECC might be for you, contact our volunteer manager Sue Ohanian on
02 8338 8506 or email firstname.lastname@example.org