You know, in Malaysia, chances are, when you walk into an office offering to become a volunteer, people will gape at you.
Unless the office/organisation already has a volunteer program and/or is used to people walking in offering their services (for example, medical students who want extra credits and/or experience), there will be a flurry of activity trying to figure out what to do with this new volunteer. Some have barely ever heard of such a thing...
In Canada, no such thing...
Voluntary work is very much a part of their school curriculum and way of life. So much so that if you volunteer for something, chances are, you might get turned away.
Like the DayCare centre on my university grounds. I tried volunteering there with another friend, but were told that chances are, we won't get to. Why? Because they reserve places for all students majoring in nursing and education to do their placements and compulsory volunteer work. So UNLESS someone backs out, we don't have a place!
I also saw a sign asking for volunteers to work with children (organisation name held for privacy), somewhere in town. I emailed the contact number pinned on the board, and voila, I was given a whole bunch of forms to fill, including sample questions for me to answer, and was given a date and time for me to be interviewed by the board of directors or committee. And, was asked to bring a resume.
I'm like ???
I was prepared that the criteria would be strict, and brought a letter of reference along with contact information, but resume?
And if you're thinking the sample questions are easy and straight-forward, they're not.
Examples of questions asked (paraphrased, and in no particular order):-
1) What kind of discipline do you approve and disapprove of, and why?
2) How would you deal with a child who is not listening to you?
3) What kind of child would you best work with and why?
4) What is confidentiality?
And then this whole long list of questions is followed by possible scenarios of a particular child, and how I would react to it.
By the end of the document, I was already feeling like I wrote a thesis.
All this to volunteer!
How professional is that?!? It's really good though. I salute the professionalism. It just goes to show that it really is no nonsense at all, and that they are serious about the work they do.
Oh did I mentioned they run police-checks as well?
I also checked in with the Disability Services Office (DSO) on campus, and they also gave me a list of things expected of a volunteer, like calling in advance if I wasn't going to make it and deadlines were to be met if volunteering to take notes for the office.
My head is swarming at the moment. I didn't know to volunteer I needed a resume =(
Anyway, I asked around, and ended up signing up for a 'How to write a resume from scratch' workshop next week. The university knows how important resumes are, so they're opening workshops for all these dungus like me who are quite...blur...
Turns out, there are a lot of dungus around ;)
Oh well, at least there's help available!