Grad Bites: Volunteering in a Calais Refugee Camp

Law graduate, Poppy, spent six months volunteering in a Calais refugee camp. She describes the profound impact it had on her and how it has shaped her career ambitions. She talks about the typical work of a camp volunteer and important things to think about if you want to volunteer abroad.

Grad Bites: Volunteering in a Calais Refugee Camp


Interested in volunteering?

Volunteering abroad can be an amazing experience. It will certainly open your eyes, you’ll make friends for life, and it may even guide your career direction.

But ‘voluntourism’ does have negative issues. So be sure to research volunteer organisations thoroughly, to make sure they are reputable. Think about how you would be helping, what the organisation does, and how it came to be there. Also look at how they train and look after their volunteers – working in the refugee camps can be really tough, both mentally and physically.

Organisations that Poppy mentions:

Choose Love (Help Refugees)
Pioneers in a new movement in humanitarian aid: providing emergency aid & long term solutions where they are most needed


Collective Aid
Caring for refugees & other displaced people by engaging volunteers to step in where governments & large organisations do not


Student-led charity represented in 60 universities across the world, working towards long-term change in the refugee crisis, through fundraising and building awareness. Funds go to legal aid NGOs, dealing with asylum claims and helping people build a new life in their safe place.


Photos from the Calais refugee camp

Poppy Volunteering at refugee camp
Volunteering at refugee camp
Volunteering at refugee camp
Calais refugee camp

See more from Poppy:

Grad Bites: The Calais Refugee Crisis
Poppy explains some of the misconceptions around refugees, and discusses her personal experiences as a volunteer in Calais