Volunteering in Groningen
Volunteering is a great way to help the society, pump up your CV, create a network, meet friends and acquire more practical experience. It has been argued by a few international students that it is very hard to find a volunteering service in Groningen in English language. In fact, it is hard if you are searching for volunteering announcements on Google but easy if you chose an organization. Groningen is full of hidden volunteer opportunities in different fields and we would like to share with you a few of them…
Volunteer in Dutch is ‘vrijwilliger’.
Vera is an underground cultural concert and cinema place in the heart of Groningen. They have annually 240 volunteers during events and concerts. The volunteering positions are as a barman during a concert, wardrobe staff, taking care of lights show and more. The great thing about this volunteering position is that you get in exchange free of charge tickets to their events. Some true music fans are ready to volunteer at the bar and hear awesome bands weekly.
The Free Café
The Free Café is a project to prevent and fight food waste by having a café where everyone is included by sharing a free dinner and a talk. Volunteers supporting the café purpose, usually pick up the food, prepare the meals, setting up the tables and chairs, pouring tea and coffee and wash the dishes. Everyone who wants to be a volunteer just needs to go 1-2 hours before the dinner which is happening around 18-18:30, or just stay after the dinner and help with dish washing process. The atmosphere is very friendly, cosy and you do not need to do volunteer enrolment but just drop by and join. The preparing of the meals is a challenge because the products are diverse and not proportional. Therefore, there is a lot of room for food creativity. The meals are usually vegetarian or vegan. You can also donate food if you are leaving and you do not know what to do with the leftovers.
There are many festivals in Groningen as for music, communities, food and culture. Many of them are searching for volunteers during the festivals as a support staff. For example, festivals Zomerfold Festival; Noorderzone Festival; Beer and Whiskey festivals; Theater festival and probably a lot more. During the festivals you can be a hostess; photographer; or cleaning staff.
Experience Groningen is a 2-day event for students in Groningen who are introduced to companies, culture and new people. The volunteering for them is nice because you will walk around new students in Groningen to locations but in the same time you will experience the event as well.
The International Radio
The International Radio- Happy Hour FM is the only English-speaking radio in Groningen and it is searching for proactive students who want to join the talk show. The volunteering will consist also by giving ideas input for the talk show and participating in the radio discussions. Write them a message on Facebook with the request to join the talk. You will learn more about your speaking skills, voice and radio technology.
Hortus Haren is a botanic garden located in Haren. They are searching often for different type of volunteer services however the most common one that does not need Dutch language skill is a garden worker. Perfect if you like to be surrounded by flowers and open to learn more about gardening.
The Noorderlijk Scheepvaartmuseum
The ship museum located near the A- Kerk is searching for volunteers in the area of guiding tours. They are searching for people who can give the tours in English, German or Dutch language.
This organization is a center for women where they are searching volunteers to learn women to bike, swim and different activities.
MJD Groningen is a social welfare organisation which is searching for some volunteer staff.
Student Associations are also regularly searching for people with organizing events and other activities.
There are also other popular organization as Humanitas and wijkteams (neighbourhood teams) who are doing a lot of social work. They rarely need someone who can speak only English but maybe they need a person from the same cultures from which are the people they are helping. Our tip for you is to be proactive and contact the organization by an email and ask if they need some volunteer help.