Student Stories: Volunteering and Other Remote Experiences
Today we’re hearing from two Vietnamese students who have recently volunteered and gotten involved on campus (remotely) with other activities! Make sure to check out the @shoreline_international Instagram for more ideas on how to Engage and Achieve!
My name is Nguyen Xuan Thien Thanh. I am an international student from Vietnam. I have been in the U.S. for 4 years. I attended my high school junior year in Spokane, Washington. I love dancing so it would not be surprising that I was a member of the school’s dance team. Then I moved to Michigan to complete my last year of high school. I was a volunteer for FIRST robotic championship for Michigan state with my host mom, who was also one of the head coaches of the team. After that, I chose Shoreline Community College to be my next stop in my education path. My first year at Shoreline was full of happiness and surprises from my friends, as well as some challenges of course. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, I had to start my second year with online courses. I have less opportunities to interact with people face to face and spend most of the time in my room. My home country was locked down as well. During the quarantine time at home, I searched online looking for different virtual volunteering opportunities. I really want to help some people while I can spend more personal time now with volunteering.
As a result, I signed up to volunteer at ReWA (Refugee Women’s Alliance). My assigned task was to help people who speak Vietnamese register and vote in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. We confirmed with the ReWA staff if we are eligible to help as international students before receiving the training to offer translation assistance and direct the community members on different helpful website for voting information. Moreover, we would answer their phone calls as well as messages to help them in the voting process. This experience was both fun and meaningful. I had a chance to connect with the local Vietnamese community as well as learning about the democracy and voting in the U.S. I helped about 40 people during October and early November.
Next, I look forward to volunteering for the Global Showcase, which is an annual cultural event organized by International Student Leaders at Shoreline Community College. Even though it will be a virtual event in spring, it would still be a great opportunity for Vietnamese students work together on promoting our language and culture. I’m excited to attend and participate in Global Showcase. Not only campus community can check out our work, we will get to share with more people globally in the current online environment.
Hello! My name is Vo Dang Long and I go by Jack. I have been in the U.S. for 3 years, and this is my second year at Shoreline. I was an exchange student in Cleveland, Oklahoma during my first year in the U.S. During my high school exchange year, I joined an organization named Business Professional of America. This organization helps students build their leadership skills and promote many events bring contributions back to the community. I participated in many volunteering activities, such as helping sell food at the town food bank and holding activities at Special Oklahoma Olympic both winter and summer games.
Coming to Shoreline has been a great experience for me! The time of living in the Residence Hall on campus helped shape my personality better. I was able to get involved in more events with the convenient access as living on campus and more activities held by Resident Assistants. I made a lot of new friends during my first quarter at Shoreline. While everyone’s life has been different since mid-March when the pandemic hit globally. I am grateful that we still have good access to online learning and interacting with others online in order to stay safe and health. To keep myself staying active and engaged, I have tried to find more opportunities, like applying on-campus jobs and volunteering online. I applied for the ASG (Associated Student Government) as well as the ISA (International Student Ambassador). I hope I can get to learn more and help others at the same time.
In October, 2020, I signed up to volunteer at an organization called ReWA (Refugee Women’s Alliance). It is an organization created to help communities such as providing 10 wrap-around social services for every member of the family, from infant to senior in which they delivered in over 50 languages and dialects, are designed to make a long-lasting impact in others and help them thrive in the Puget Sound community.
My position was to help people in the Vietnamese-American community in the voting process of the presidential election in November. I needed to spend at least 2-3 hour a week to answer phone calls and messages to direct people to the right place with explanation of what they need to do in Vietnamese. Sometimes I would feel overwhelmed with time management as taking four classes, preparing for university transfer applications, working as an ISA, spending time online with families and friends, plus volunteering! It was definitely challenging when I had 3-4 exams and labs during some weeks while volunteering. When I now look back the total amount of volunteering hours that I kept track of, I feel proud for this accomplishment of myself. I definitely think I made a good choice to volunteer even though my schedule was already a little busy. I got to step out of my comfort zone, challenge myself to reach higher, improve my time management skill, and I really enjoy learning new things!