The South Ural Association of International Students organizes a huge number of events for international students. In this new academic year, it has been decided to create an international volunteers program, where initiative international students were invited to help organize such events.
The SUSU AIS events are really diverse: cultural, educational, sports events, and those, aiming at students’ adaptation. Each month, about 5-6 programs are held. The purpose of the international volunteers program is to provide international students with certain occupation, give them an opportunity to find themselves, and do something other than study.
At the first stage, about 50 international students applied for AIS volunteers. Only 2nd-year and 3rd-year students were accepted, as knowledge of the Russian language is an important aspect for a volunteer. Besides, students, who have been living in Russia for several years now, know the unique features of the Russian culture and rules of the university, and can help new international students adapt.
“For us, every month is a New Year’s celebration: Chinese, Arabic, European, Sri Lankan New Year, and Nowruz. There are plenty of events. That’s why this year we have decided to create an international volunteers organisation to help organize AIS events and participate in SUSU volunteer programs,” said Uvindu Wijeweera, the AIS President. “One of the reasons to organize our own team of volunteers was the upcoming big-scale event in the life of international students, URAL FEST. We are planning to bring our new volunteers team there. We are sure, this would be a great experience for them.”
The Association of International Students grants the volunteers an opportunity to help with the educational process, with extracurricular programs of the university, help international students adapt, gain the experience as a volunteer, all in their free time. Besides, the AIS volunteers can work at regional and federal international events, because they have a unique distinguishing feature: they speak different languages, that can be native to guests of Russia (English, French, Chinese, Arabic, etc.). Also, they speak Russian and know the unique features of the Russian culture.
Мulhan Shahin, a student from Syria, has told why international students want to become volunteers.
“I want to help international students, because when I first came to Russia, I didn’t know anyone here, I really wanted someone to help me. That was really important. Now I’m a volunteer myself, I specialize in music. We gather with everyone who wants to make music, play different instruments, sing in different languages, in different styles of music. As a volunteer, I plan to participate in URAL FEST, gain new experience of participating in big-scale events and meet new people.”
At the meeting, the team of volunteers were told about the AIS activity and were shown an annual plan of events, what they are going to work with. They also discussed the future activity and assigned different areas of interest to the student volunteers. At the end of the meeting, team-building games were held.
Together with the SUSU International Office, the AIS hopes that the international volunteers program will continue to develop, and will not be limited to participation in the university’s life, but will create their own volunteer programs, such as children programs, educational programmes, master-classes, Community Cleanup Days, and so other.