Volunteers help bridge language barriers
Volunteering provides an integral link between the University and the wider community.
With over 30 different volunteer groups available for anyone to participate in through the University, many of the projects our alumni choose to be involved in are to benefit current students.
While undertaking his PhD, Dr Omid Kavehei benefitted from the support of one such program – Talking with Aussies.
Now an Assistant Professor in Engineering at RMIT, Omid says that as a new international student at the University, the help that he received from Ron Seidel, one of our alumni volunteers, opened his eyes to his new environment and continues to be an inspiration to him.
“I am not sure whether Ron was able to understand my English at the time but he never diminished my confidence,” says Omid.
“He patiently explained Australian work ethics, customs, history, culture and idioms, helping me and my wife to integrate and enjoy our time in Adelaide”.
There are many ways we show our appreciation of our volunteers and in the case of Ron and Marilyn Seidel, it would be appropriate to do so in the many languages of the students they have supported.
For the past ten years, Ron and Marilyn have supported the University’s international students through the Talking with Aussies program, meeting one-to-one with students to help improve their English language skills and engage them with aspects of Australian culture.
“The success is theirs but if I can do anything to enhance their learning or to make their stay here more enjoyable then I am satisfied,” says Ron.
Ron and Marilyn have maintained a close connection with the University through attending public lectures and other events, and Marilyn also volunteers her time as the Chairperson of the Hughes Bequest Society.
“I have great faith in younger people and it is education that can give them the capabilities to address the needs of the community and the world. I have benefited significantly from education and have been warmly welcomed professionally and personally in many countries. I want to return to the global academic community some of that which has been given to me.”