Warwick STAR Volunteer Reflecting on Her Experience in Go Global Fair and Conversation Club
Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of helping Warwick STAR (Student Action for Refugees) at the student-run ‘Go Global’ Fair held in the Students’ Union Atrium. The experience has truly opened my eyes to why I have joined STAR in the first place and the impact it has on the people inside its ever-growing network.
The society, which is running activities in collaboration with Warwick Volunteers, works relentlessly to make refugees feel welcome in the United Kingdom, branching out to 34 university groups nationwide. Its impact has thus far been enormous. I’ve been attending its weekly Conversation Club since the beginning of term and I’ve already witnessed how my participation is changing the lives of participants who come here to seek guidance, improve their English-speaking skills, and gain confidence in themselves as they learn to stand on their own two feet in a country that is alien to them. Every week, we come together for a fun, proactive and challenging themed session—ranging from something like learning how to pass on a recipe to a friend on the phone to booking holiday or making a bank appointment—and watch as the most quiet, shy, and uncertain participants transform into the biggest chatterboxes in the room!
My time at the Global Fair has been amazing. Talking to people about why they should join STAR has only made me realise why I’m so passionate about it—it’s genuinely something that I deeply care about and hope to be doing in the future even after I graduate as a Politics student. I also got to meet some wonderful people from all sorts of backgrounds that were interested in our work and vision. We are living in a time of a huge refugee crisis in Europe and STAR is one of the windows to the greater problem that we are all trying to combat by doing our best to improve refugees’ lives right here on campus. It’s what makes our work truly matter.Its presence in the Go Global Fair has also left an impression. I’ve met many friendly faces, including an Exec member of another Go Global society who wanted to join us! Perhaps the biggest reward for joining a Go Global society such as Warwick STAR is that we offer a truly international experience, as well as unique volunteering opportunities, and highly sought after transferable skills in teaching and leadership (we are often encouraged to help lead the sessions), which is exactly what high-ranking employers are looking for! We host a heap of other events, from charity dinners to day trips involving working directly with refugees at the Coventry Peace House and other refugee shelters. It’s a great way to meet new people, advance your career prospects, take part in a touching cultural exchange of languages (there are always opportunities to learn some Arabic if you wish) and contribute to something meaningful in your spare time.
By Laura (Warwick STAR Volunteer)