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Four student volunteers
Volunteering comes with its share of advantages, and the results are rewarding for both the community and your career development. These students share their stories. Get inspired!

Medical student Eisi Mollanji says volunteering in the laundry room of a men’s homeless shelter and with an online support network for people with rare diseases informed his studies and taught him valuable job skills.

“On a personal level, I got a lot of fulfilment out of the gratitude I received from the men I worked with,” Eisi says of his time at the shelter. “From a professional perspective, it was my first experience working with individuals who had primary psychiatric disorders – namely schizophrenia and and/or substance abuse disorder – which gave me an early interest in the mental health of underserviced communities.”

Later, as a patient advocacy intern for Ben’s Friends, an online support network, he improved his written communication skills and gained insight into the patient experience.

“I feel that being involved in volunteer roles really injects some variety, and an external sense of duty, into what otherwise might be a mundane, daily routine of studying and test-taking,” says Eisi, who is now completing residency requirements after graduating from uOttawa’s MD program earlier this year.

At uOttawa, you can volunteer as either a part of a course or on your own time. The Community Service Learning (CSL) program even allows you to replace course assignments with professor-approved volunteer placements. Here’s how a few more students benefited.

Adebimpe Awotundun
Chemical Engineering

Whether at the Pride Centre, the Free Store or the Strathcona Heights Community Garden, Adebimpe made her name as a leader, getting involved in causes that matter to her. 

“Through these experiences, I’ve seen that there’s a lot to gain through community engagement. You can live out and experience things that are rewarding, both for yourself and for others.” 

Adebimpe has not only gained self-assurance — she’s also acquired transferable skills that you can’t necessarily learn in class but are very useful in the workplace, like leadership, compassion, organization, ease in expressing yourself and much more.

Audrey Sigouin, 
Lettres françaises

Audrey participated in the CSL program through her course:  she gained hands-on volunteer experience at the Alliance française Ottawa, a French language school and cultural centre.

“I was really able to discover an environment I was passionate about that gave me a glimpse of interesting possibilities for my future. Possibilities I didn’t even know existed or I hadn’t seriously considered before.”

She discovered that theory learned in class can be different from practice, and her skills and talents were appreciated, giving her confidence for her future endeavours.

Andrea Wong
Geography with a minor in environmental studies

Andrea performed a CSL placement in her globalization and research methods courses, volunteering for the International Conference on Canadian, Chinese and African Sustainable Urbanization.

For Andrea, community engagement means getting involved, learning about the community and contributing to positive change.

“In my placement, I was also able to see the work of international researchers and academics from Canada, China and Africa, which allowed me to learn about global views on urbanization,” she says. “In a way, this expanded my own perspectives, pushing me to study things from different angles.”

Read more student volunteer stories

To participate in a volunteer project, log into the Community Engagement Navigator (via uoZone) and select the placement you’re interested in. We post new opportunities every week!

You can also reach out to the Community Engagement Team at the Career Corner.