The modern society experiences many different problems. The situation is so difficult that any list of these problems is bound to be incomplete. However, the majority of these difficulties are connected with various types of environmental pollution and unequal opportunities for people. It is obvious that it is impossible to completely solve these problems, but the humanity can significantly improve the situation. However, the efforts made by the government and official organizations are not enough. People should also directly contribute to these spheres and volunteer for different causes to make the world peaceful and harmonious. The paper describes my volunteer experience and the way it helped me to change my ideas about this activity. It also discusses my views on the role of volunteering in the modern world.

Several years ago I was among people who underestimated the importance of volunteering. I believed that developed countries had rather good welfare systems and if they tried hard, it would be possible to solve the problems without direct participation of individuals. However, one of my friends, who often volunteered for different programs aimed at helping children, tried to persuade me that I was wrong. I decided to try volunteering and my first experience was absolutely great. I understood that this job was extremely rewarding. Since that time, I volunteer for different causes when I have spare time.

One of my recent volunteer experiences was three hours of working in the city center (cleaning the streets, public places etc) and two hours of helping other international students that faced similar problems that I once had when started my education. Both activities brought me many positive feelings and thoughts. Although I was not communicating with people directly when I was cleaning the streets, it was really very pleasant to see the appreciation on the faces of passerby who saw me doing my job. I also believe that each individual should be conscious of the environmental problems and minimize his/her negative impact on nature – it is necessary to use water sparingly etc. When I cleaned the streets, I felt that I helped the planet and it was very rewarding. Moreover, I learned to respect the work of cleaners and never drop any piece of litter in public places or in nature. In my opinion, volunteering connected with cleaning streets has a great educational potential as it helps people to understand the importance of the environmental protection and caring attitude to nature. Working with international students was also a very interesting experience. It is very difficult to face a different culture, especially when a person starts his/her education abroad. Despite much information in booklets and leaflets, personal help is very important. I did my best to answer the questions that international students asked. If I did not know the answer, I helped them to contact the specialists. These students thanked me and I understood that I made my small contribution to their future.

My personal experience has convinced me that the modern world cannot exist without volunteering. I support the idea that “there is almost no area of human activity in which volunteers are not involved, and volunteering plays an important part in our cultural, social,  political and economic lives” (Oppenheimer 5). Moreover, volunteering helps people to establish strong connections that are very difficult to keep in the modern world where people often neglect face-to-face conversations preferring texting, e-mails etc. Being a volunteer can significantly boost the person’s self-esteem and make him/her feel that his/her contribution to the development of society is really needed. This feeling is very important as it motivates a person to achieve his/her goals and develop his/her potential.

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