Vincent: Learning life skills as a volunteer

After completing his undergraduate degree in China, Vincent wanted to go abroad for postgraduate studies. Once in Adelaide, he stumbled on an opportunity to volunteer with the State Emergency Service (SES) and discovered it was an excellent way to give back to his new community and learn valuable life skills. We spoke to Vincent to find out how volunteering is helping to shape his Adelaide experience.

International student Vincent from China
Last Updated Monday 25th March, 2024

What brought you to Adelaide to study?

I was looking for a compact city with its own culture and vibe because I think big international cities can sometimes feel the same no matter where in the world you are. I loved the history of Adelaide, especially the University of Adelaide which is Australia’s third-oldest university. I spoke with former classmates from China who told me they really liked the city environment and vibe. There are many good universities in Australia, but the University of Adelaide is a special place that is known for its Nobel Prize winners. Adelaide ticked all the boxes for me!

How did you come to be a volunteer with the State Emergency Service (SES)?

It was sort of by accident. I usually study in the Nexus 10 building at uni, but I was in Hub Central one day, and they were looking for volunteers. I like to volunteer. I used to do it back in China, so I decided to apply. The SES seemed great. You learn to cut down trees in storms and help people in emergencies.

What’s it like volunteering with the SES?

It’s a great place to volunteer because it gives me a chance to help the community and get to know the culture better. It’s helped with my English too because I’m speaking with lots of locals. In the beginning, everyone seemed to be talking really fast, but I’m getting better because I’m always practising my language with my SES friends.

They’ve taught me about first aid, how to use a chainsaw, how to conduct a land search and safety and communication. I’ve just finished my level one training, and I can’t wait to use my new skills to help people. They’re also really social. There are over 30 volunteers in my unit. We train together and get together socially like going bowling or go-karting. We’re good friends, and it’s lots of fun.

How do you think studying in Adelaide will help shape your career?

I think my time here both in my studies and my volunteer work is making me really good at teamwork, which most companies need from their staff. A lot of our coursework is team-based, and I’m working in teams with my SES volunteering. I also think being in Adelaide will help improve my English and make me more employable.

What would you say to students thinking about coming to Adelaide to study?

It’s a place that will give you a high-quality education. It’s a genuine place. It feels ‘real’ and very safe. If you want a good education in a place where you can focus on study, but still have fun and join the community, Adelaide is the best choice!

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