Beiming is a recent graduate who studied MA Education, Gender, and International Development at the Institute of Education. He is embarking onto a PhD at the University of Cambridge waving goodbye to his UCL volunteering placement. He tells us about his year volunteering for UCL Culture Museums.

What have you been up to since graduating?

Since graduating I have continued to develop and learn new knowledge, working within the University for a period to enrich my experience and prepare for my forthcoming PhD at the University of Cambridge.

What volunteering were you involved with whilst you were at UCL?

I had the privilege of working as a Visitor Engagement Volunteer at UCL Cultures Museum who manage among other things the UCL Art Museum, the Grant Museum, the Pathology Museum and the Petrie Museum. I was responsible for coordinating a variety of tasks in the museums as well as visitor hospitality. I usually worked once or twice a month.

What useful skills and experiences did you gain as a volunteer when you were at UCL?

I have acquired a multitude of skills including communication, visitor reception, and emergency response. However, what is most important to me is that I have gained knowledge of various cultures. During my time at the museum, I had the opportunity to meet individuals from different nations and cultures. Listening to their ideas and stories and learning about their cultures and traditions was a unique and valuable experience.

Has volunteering helped you in your career?

Working as a volunteer has undoubtedly aided my career by allowing me to hone various efficient skills. This has improved the appearance and value of my resume.

Tell us about something memorable that’s happened to you whilst volunteering

I was most impressed by this one a visitor, an elderly lady that I had met. It was winter, raining, and night-time outside. She came in trembling and apologised that she hadn't booked a ticket as she didn't know how to, but that she wanted to look around. I reassured her that everything was fine and granted her access to the museum. When she was about to leave the museum, I approached her to say hello and inquire whether she had enjoyed her visit. She said slowly and firmly ‘I love museums, and I've travelled a great distance to visit this museum, which is not a large one but is very significant to me. Each exhibit has a distinct history and story that must not be forgotten over time. Thank you for allowing me to visit and give such wonderful memories.’

These words, which warmed and moved me on that chilly winter day, strengthened my resolve to volunteer, and they have remained with me to this day.

These words, which warmed and moved me on that chilly winter day, strengthened my resolve to volunteer, and they have remained with me to this day.

What would you say to UCL students considering whether or not to volunteer?

Choose to volunteer whenever possible while ensuring that you can complete your daily academic tasks. Follow your heart rather than your own desires and whims. A faithful volunteer is willing to give of themselves to bring warmth to others and even society through the tasks he/she performs.