What a rewarding journey!

Hello, my name is Amy. I’m a student in the first year of my English Language and Linguistics BA (Hons) Degree at The University of Wolverhampton - and I wanted to tell you about the rewarding experience of volunteering on TimeBank's Talking Together project. 

I am a British Bangladeshi born and bred and I am very proud of my heritage. I have always been passionate about English Language as a subject and feel that being able to speak English plays a crucial part in our daily lives.

I was intrigued to learn about the barriers to second language acquisition, so I signed up as an English Language Mentor on TimeBank’s Talking Together project.  I would like to help people from ethnic minorities gain confidence in using English in various contexts. My motivation to take part  is that being a Bangladeshi myself,  I would like to branch out and help those from my community and other ethnicities to progress with their English and be able to integrate with the wider society, whilst also gaining independence to fulfil a range of tasks outside of the home.               

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For my first volunteering trip, my colleagues and I took a group of students and ventured out to Moor Street Station. The journey was just four minutes from the starting point to the City Centre, yet most of the ladies didn’t know that this option of travel was accessible to them.

They were very nervous as many had not gone on a train before.  However as the day progressed, they learnt about departure and arrival times as well as the 24 hour clock system in order to read train timetables.  They also took the opportunity of asking the gentleman at the ticket office about train times, journey lengths, ticket types and prices. They were initially hesitant but once they did they were very proud of what they had achieved by simply asking a few questions. This really helped to build their confidence.

The Birmingham Art Gallery and Museum was the main attraction of the day. The students were able to learn about opening and closing times, exhibition costs (if applicable) and describing paintings and sculptures. The trip really helped to expand their vocabulary and learn new skills. And they thoroughly enjoyed their experience.

We later had lunch and they were able to order their own meals, talking in English with the staff. Their confidence had improved vastly compared to the beginning of the day. A few of the ladies said they would try the journey themselves again now they knew what to do.

Something that we take for granted like boarding a train is so invaluable to these learners – and it gives me a great sense of satisfaction to know that I played a part in their learning and made a difference to their lives.  That is the biggest reward you could have as a volunteer.

If you'd like to know more about volunteering on Talking Together, take a look here.