Where should I do voluntary work? What kind of voluntary work should I do?

The best voluntary work opportunities are the ones that help you to develop the traits being sought by medical and dental schools (more on this in this article). So, to find the right voluntary work for you, you need to:
  • Identify the traits you’re particularly lacking in (e.g. empathy, leadership, teamwork, compassion, cultural awareness, resilience, honesty, integrity, effective communication skills), and then
  • Search for volunteering roles that will help you to develop those traits.

For example, if you think you need to develop more empathy, a good voluntary work opportunity might be helping out at an aged-care facility, which would allow you to observe how health professionals show empathy and then practise doing the same yourself. Alternatively, a good extracurricular activity might be to join your school’s mentoring program and teach younger students, which would help you to understand the experiences and needs of people other than yourself.

If possible, another great idea when looking for voluntary work opportunities is to look for rural voluntary work or opportunities related to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities. Such opportunities will give you very good exposure and insight into the kinds of challenges that health professionals face in these settings, and help you to build skills such as cultural awareness and respect.

And since medicine is a research-inclined profession, it’s also a great idea to look for positions that will expose you to research opportunities so that you can gain an understanding of the technicalities behind how research works.

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