Self care: volunteering helps in many ways

16th July 2019


by our social worker Vanessa Mekisic


Studying in a country where you have to learn a new language, find a job, make new friends, and look for somewhere comfortable to live is a challenge.

It is common for people to feel excited upon arrival, but not soon after, they may be faced with challenges which are difficult to overcome especially without the support from familiar family or friends.

Although you may feel like shutting yourself away in your room, not talking to your housemates or classmates or not being able to concentrate on your studies, talking to someone about how your are feeling may help to develop some strategies to get past this ‘slump’ and start to reflect on the reasons why you wanted to come to Australia and study in the first place.

Forcing yourself to get out and about can be hard, especially if money is an issue.

Having said that, volunteering your time (e.g. working for free for a charity) is popular in Australia. Although you do not get paid to volunteer, volunteering can lead to employment opportunities and it looks very good on your resume. Many people find work through connections they make at volunteering jobs.

Volunteering can also help you to feel good about yourself because you are helping others. This is very important when you are feeling down. Working with others gives you an opportunity to practice your English speaking skills as well and make new friends.

To find out about Volunteering opportunities in Cairns go to: or

FNQ Volunteers has an event on soon, at which you can meet people from many local charities and look for volunteering opportunities. Check out this Facebook event for more details.

If you would like to speak to someone about feeling homesick please don’s hesitate to contact the Cairns Student Hub to make an appointment with the Centacare Case worker (Vanessa Mekisic) who is available fortnightly for confidential appointments:


Vanessa Mekisic holds regular workshops at Cairns Student Hub. She is also available for one-on-one appointments. Check our Events page for dates. 

Do you want to volunteer?

The Student Hub welcomes students who want to help by volunteering their time and skills to assist other students. We’re also developing an exciting Internship Program and are happy to assist with finding an internship or volunteer position for you.


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