Volunteering at a local charity shop can be a great way of improving your English and also allows you to get involved in the local community! Agustina, our former student tells us about her Volunteering Experience at Oxfam in Kentish Town
I started at Oxfam as a volunteer in their Stanmore Shop in January 2011. After finishing my FCE course at Tti School of English in December 2010 I decided to stay a bit longer in London to practice my English.
I was looking for a non paid internship and some agencies charge you money to do it but I found out that Oxfam offered internships for free. So I applied through the Oxfam website to be an assistant shop manager for the Stanmore shop ( I didn’t know where it was…)
The manager called me for a casual interview and I was so nervous because I wasn’t confident enough with my English… but she told me not to worry abut that.
Then I started to volunteer for Oxfam in February 2010 and I loved it from the very first day! The people there were so friendly and nice with me, they helped me a lot! There were no Spanish people in that area so that was great for me. My manager who is now my friend Liz, helped me to improve my english and my skills to get ready for a proper job, she was my mentor and I will be always grateful.
After about 4 months my manager told me that a new Oxfam shop was going to open close to where I lived in Kentish Town. I got so excited! I applied for it and I had the advantage that I was already volunteering in a shop so I knew all about it. Also my manager trained me to gain the skills needed for the position.
Finally I had an interview and got the job!! I have to say that it was really hard for me at the beginning ….
It was a new shop, I had to do everything from scratch. Recruiting and training new volunteers, set up the shop, the layout etc..
But I managed to cope successfully with all those responsibilities that are involved in being a Shop Manager at Oxfam.
It was for me the best work experience I’ve ever had. Working for a non profit organisation like Oxfam means much more than simply a job, it is a very rewarding job.
I’m so proud of my experience at Oxfam. I grew as a person by working for Oxfam. Those four years at Oxfam will be always in my heart. I met amazing people there, not only shop managers as many volunteers became my friends too.
Summarising, I would never forget those years in London and at Oxfam. I had 2 families in London: one was Tti School of English and the second one was Oxfam. Both helped me to reach my goals in London.
Now I am in Madrid and I’m still in touch with people from both, Tti and Oxfam.
One of the friends I’ve made at Tti School is coming in Easter to visit me in Madrid!
I hope you enjoy your experience in London and make the most of it!