We had the chance to speak to Tanya Gligorovici about her volunteering at the EFG London Jazz Festival! Tanya is an exchange student from Paris studying Modern Languages and Business at UCL. Read on to find out more about her experience!

Tell us a little about your volunteering

I volunteered through Serious at the EFG London Jazz Festival which took place from 12th to 21st November, 2021. There were concerts at different venues all around London and several teams to ensure the event ran smoothly. I chose to join the communications team since that interested me the most. It was an exciting role since I had to take pictures for their social media and got time to enjoy the music festival as well.

How did you find out about the role?

I missed out on the Main Volunteering Fair but was glad I could attend the online one. I took note of all the opportunities and went onto the website to find out more. It was pretty easy once I settled on an opportunity- I just had to fill out a form and respond to an email!

As an exchange student who studies in France, I found it tough to find volunteering roles in my university there. We don’t have a Volunteering Service so it was amazing to see a site collating everything for students. That way we know they are reliable and safe opportunities.

Why did you want to become a volunteer?

I have volunteered at music festivals in the past and it started in 2017 at a Music festival in Romania. I saw a couple of my friends volunteering and they really seemed to enjoy it a lot. This pushed me to do the same and I have done music festivals in Romania, France and now London.

As an exchange student, this was the easiest way to get to know the community and meet new people.

What difference do you feel you’ve made by volunteering?

The management always thinks of volunteers as a breath of fresh air. Especially since we were recovering from COVID-19, it was a good experience for everyone.

What impact has volunteering had on you?

My mom always wonders if I get tired doing the same thing every year. But it is never the same experience or the same people. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone and gave me a surprising networking opportunity. I got to work at French Open off the back of volunteering which was amazing.

When you start volunteering, you won’t see an immediate tangible effect since you aren’t earning, but it is an impressive CV boost. It is really good interview content as well. I might even try out for a role with the communications team in the future.

What’s the best thing about volunteering? 

Getting out of comfort zone! Coming home and realising, “Wow I did this.”

Most of the times, I signed up alone and made great friends on the way.

And the most challenging? How did you overcome the challenges? 

Getting out of my comfort zone 😊. I always had doubts of whether I really wanted to push myself. The same sort of fear you would have if you haven’t grown up with younger siblings and are entering a volunteering role with kids. But I realised there weren’t burdening expectations on volunteers because we are there to help!

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

During the London Jazz festival, I was at the guest desk for Matthew Bourne and the South bank events manager came up to me and started a conversation. I soon realised she knew French so we started talking in French and she told me about her family, where she came from- stuff you wouldn’t expect from your boss’ boss. She even invited me to the post-festival party.

Would you recommend volunteering? If so, why? 

I would love to talk to people who are unsure about volunteering because I was like that too. Just take the risk! The people here are laid back and it is fun to help out.

Volunteering is a lot more accessible than a job and is relatively low commitment. The current production team and managers who were working at the festival all started out as volunteers. At this point, I’m not volunteering for my CV since I already have a lot of past roles to talk about. It is truly for the experience.

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