Building Up My Resume: Conference Volunteering

Dana Alsaialy, Study in Czechia ambassador
Dana Alsaialy, Study in Czechia ambassador
Helpful tips, Student community, Work
26 June 2023

Ahoj! As a tribute to my last blog, “Studying in Czechia: Seizing the Possibilities,” I’d like to delve deeper into a volunteering opportunity I had as a Bachelor’s student. For three days, I did a paid volunteering at the ESARN16 conference, in collaboration with ESA, Charles University, SYRI, and CESES, titled “Sociology of Health and Medicine in the Public Arena During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond.” In this blog, I would like to outline the experience and discuss how students can find these nuggets of opportunity within their university grounds — especially those that will give monetary compensation in the form of scholarships (tuition reduction) and ultimately build one’s career!

How did I find out about this opportunity? I was meeting my supervisor to finalize my thesis proposal when he mentioned ESARN16 — a 3-day conference split into poster sessions and parallel presentation sessions that have been in the works since January. He said the conference would be held in May and invited me to volunteer. Immediately, I was interested. Not only was I flattered by the personal invitation, but I was intrigued since the conference topics align with my thesis, so this would benefit me from an academic standpoint, not simply an extracurricular one.

My adventure began with the pre-conference activities, where I eagerly immersed myself in the world of logistics, responsible for ticking the participation list and taking candid photos of the event from 10 AM to 2 PM. Then, I was requested to meet up with fellow volunteers to move all sorts of gift bags, goodies, and flyers to the Czech Academy of Science to set up registration and the opening ceremony. We got some free “Faculty of Social Sciences” merchandise, with name tags hanging by a red ribbon to show that we were staff members. The following two ESARN16 days, I brought a whirlwind of activities and discoveries. We relocated the registration desk to the main social sciences building, Hollar, where the conference would occur. I found myself immersed in the lively energy of the setting, working tirelessly to ensure a seamless registration process for all attendees. Amidst the hustle, I had the privilege of attending some of my favourite sessions, where leading experts unveiled the latest advancements in their respective fields, including AI in healthcare and health identities. Not to mention the delicious free food and snacks!

Where can you find these opportunities? Indeed, multiple sources of online information for the latest summer internships, volunteering opportunities, or even full-time jobs are available to students. However, impacting the university level feels like you are getting closer to your institution, and the people you are volunteering for or working with can become your recommenders in the future. My advice to people searching for things to do at the university would be to ask their advisors what is available (and propose solutions for problems they see), maintain close relations with their professors, and do well in their classes to become the first person they think of in case of needing a helping hand. Also, stay updated with STUDY IN CZECHIA’s social media and website, where you can find lots of helpful information on this topic. Or sign up for your university’s ambassador program, which exposes you to many options. Best of luck out there!