2012-04-16

Andrew Furness, volunteer in communication: "I discovered a love for writing".

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By Federica Pisi Name: Andrew Furness Nationality: Irish & British Occupation: Spanish and Politics student Volunteering period: 6 months Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. What made you want to apply to volunteer and in particular for the Communications and Marketing team? As a part of my university course, I have to spend one of 4 years in a Spanish speaking country. I knew this could be one of my last chances to spend time exploring and working without a pay so I had to do something outside the norm of a Erasmus or European placement. However, I think doing something professional like PR & Communications means I can also use my volunteering to learn about office and promotion work which I might need in the future. How would you describe the project and your job and tasks? The V.G. Communication team is very much an office job with a twist. My tasks varied from networking, local and international promotion, article writing and event management.                 What are some of the best moments around the project and what have you learnt? I think I’ve really discovered a love for writing, investigative or otherwise. My favourite part of the job was visiting the numerous projects we’re involved with, to see a typical day. It was great to see a part of Buenos Aires not many foreigners know about, see our work and then publish my thought about it in the VG website. Other highlights would be our office in San Telmo almost collapsing due to a half-storm, the office pet “Telmito” the cat and the various events (Christmas party and 6 years anniversary). As for what I’ve learnt… every organisation in the world needs a high level of admin and support; here I’ve worked with a lot of different people and I think enthusiasm can go a long way to help complete tasks and get the most out of any experience for both yourself and those you work for and with. Do you have any suggestions or recommendations to look forward to for any volunteers that will be taking part in the same project? My suggestions for preparing for the Communications team:

  • Get familiar with social network sites and public writing or reporting

-          Networking is really important for an NGO, so creating links with important local and international figures while also keeping people aware of our work and progress means there is more interest following the organisation.

  • Understand the “point” of an internship

-          While I’m here to travel and learn Spanish, the Communications team is full of tasks and administration, so be ready to analyse data and take information from a multitude of areas. -          There are several blogs about the Communications team experience, so read these and check out adverts and web page to see the sort of attitude we’re aiming for. Thank you very much VG!

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