ACCESS NL > Features > Empowerment Through Volunteering
Empowerment Through Volunteering
2021-09-24 | By Volunteer The Hague
Many internationals who come to the Netherlands are curious about volunteering and connecting with local Dutch non-profit organizations, but don’t know where to start. How can one find opportunities? Are Dutch language skills necessary? And what are the benefits of volunteering?
If there’s anything we at Volunteer The Hague have learned working with local internationals, it’s that there’s an abundance and diversity of talent in our amazing expat community!
Volunteer The Hague is an online resource for expats and internationals who are interested in volunteer opportunities in and around The Hague, to connect with local non-profits that are eager to work with international volunteers and do not require Dutch language fluency.
Supported by The Hague municipality, Volunteer The Hague’s goal is to empower local internationals through volunteering. For the past seven years, we’ve connected thousands of individuals with non-profit organisations who are eager to tap into their various backgrounds and skillsets. These organisations list volunteer opportunities on our website, and volunteers can register, search listings, and apply. The vacancies on Volunteer The Hague are for everyone and endless—you can surely find something that fits your goals and personality. Browse the hundreds of vacancies on our website and if you don’t know what you’re looking for, then simply take our mini-quiz to see what kind of positions fit you at our Talent Scan.
The main requirements we have of our partner organizations is that the opportunities be local to the Hague, and that the listings do not require Dutch language abilities.
Feeling shut out?
This latter requirement is important. In our experience, many internationals new to the Netherlands feel shut out from the community at large. We’ve heard time and again how demoralizing it is to have the impression that one’s talents are not being put to good use, particularly if currently unemployed or unable to work due to visa constraints. Worse, people can feel trapped in a situation that offers no way to advance their skills or gain new skills, and no way to cultivate social or professional contacts.
There’s often a kneejerk reaction to volunteering: many people feel that it should be done solely as an act of charity; others feel it takes away from time they could be spending looking for paid employment. We, at Volunteer The Hague, understand this feeling well. As an expat team of volunteers who’ve been in the Hague for not too long, networking, cultivating our skills, and other activities aimed at finding work are at the forefront of our minds. But in our time volunteering with Volunteer The Hague, we’ve learned that time spent volunteering is valuable as time well spent in our job search, and is often being perceived as an equivalent to work experience by Dutch employers.
With volunteering under your belt, you can not only connect with the community you live in, but also gain valuable hard-skills, a broader network, new friends, and knowledge that you helped make a difference.
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The perks of volunteering
By Gabriel Rodriguez, Web Content Creator at Volunteer The Hague
In America I was a teacher of linguistics. Though I came to the Netherlands because I needed a change of scenery and occupation, I worry that my talents and training aren’t suitable for a new career. By volunteering with Volunteer The Hague as their Web Content Creator, I’ve found a career direction, synthesized skills I already had, and have been able to learn new skills as well. In this way, I’ve boosted my CV, gained references, and filled a gap in my work experience. I’ve found a community of friends and colleagues and have been introduced to a wider network of people and organisations. Through Volunteer The Hague’s many free workshops and networking events, I’ve also been able to learn important new skills and gain knowledge specific to the Dutch job market.
Perhaps most importantly, I feel my talents are helping to make a difference in my community – a feeling many volunteers find boosts their confidence. Our service exists and thrives because we work with internationals who possess immense talent. Their enthusiasm not only drives these organisations to seek them out as volunteers, it also showcases how indispensable our local expat community is to this wonderful city that has become our new home.
Did you know that you can also volunteer with ACCESS? Read more about it here.