If you’re looking towards going abroad for tertiary education, these days just having good grades is not enough if you’re looking to secure a spot at one of the top universities in the world. On top of being academically proficient, you must show community engagement as well and universities nowadays look at service as a determining factor on whether you enter, and just how much financial aid they will be willing to give.
For students fortunate enough to be at a school that offer service opportunities such as St George’s College and Dominican Convent, most of the heavy lifting in terms of finding a site and also making the connection are taken care of by the school and after the service is done, it becomes easier to go back to the site you helped at if your service experience made you feel like you really do want to make a difference in society. For students at schools that do not offer such opportunities, finding a suitable service site might be a bit of an issue but here is the thing. Service is not just about giving money to the poor or feeding the hungry or clothing the naked, service is more than that. Service is looking at the social injustices people face on a daily basis because of certain systems of oppression, pin-pointing them and acting to overcome them. You might not need a service site to do service, doing individual work that can better the lives of other people.
For those of you who on the other hand are inclined to work in a group of people, there are multiple opportunities to serve. Education within the country is a big thing and there are families that find themselves unable to send their children to school. If you’re on a gap year or maybe on your O Level break, you can create a sort of tutoring organisation with other students to offer free lessons for those either struggling with school or those who cannot go to school at all. If hands-on work is more of your thing, you can organise midnight runs whereby you can appeal to an organisation such as a school or church for donations of food and clothes and go around the city distributing to those in need. Even something as simple as going around passing on good quality condoms to prostitutes can be counted as service as you are helping to benefit their lives and not be caught unaware by individuals who prey on them.
Service opportunities are boundless, there will always be a call for help. It all just depends on your motivation and spirit whether to pick up that call or not. My history teacher once said to me, “there can never be aid just for aid’s sake,” but in the case of service, there always will be a need for aid, with nothing in return being expected to the one giving the aid.