Millie from Nottingham pictured.

7 June 2021

For Volunteers’ Week 2021, we are celebrating STAR leaders and their contribution to STAR volunteering projects across the UK. It has been a difficult year, but STAR leaders have volunteered their time to make a difference to the lives of refugees in the UK. Millie shares her volunteering experience as part of our blog series for Volunteers’ Week 2021.

Our weekly English conversation classes aim to connect refugees with university students so that they can improve their English speaking. To replicate the classroom environment online, we use breakout rooms on Zoom and distribute resources virtually. Adapting the classes to the virtual world was challenging to begin with, but it has been so rewarding to continue running them and maintain a sense of community during such a challenging time.

This year, it has been a pleasure to meet new volunteers and learners. I always look forward to the interesting, heart-warming, and thoughtful conversations and stories we share each week. So far, some of my highlights have been learning about food from around the world, such as how to make the Ethiopian dish misir wot, and chatting about our favourite music, from Celine Dion to Darbouka.

The English classes are organised with the help of our partner group, the Nottingham British Red Cross and with the support of Bill Walton and STAR. It has been a great experience to be part of a national network of volunteers who are all passionate about the work we do.

Since volunteering with STAR, I have learnt how to adapt to new circumstances and it has taught me how to connect with people from all walks of life. I hope to continue being involved with STAR in the future!

Millie is a second-year student at the University of Nottingham, studying French and Spanish. She started volunteering with STAR during her first year, and joined the Nottingham STAR committee in September 2020 as English Class Coordinator.

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