Volunteer profile: Meet Nikhil from Melbourne’s Eastern Hub

There would be no Welcome Dinner Project if it wasn’t for hundreds of amazing volunteers all around the country who give boundless passion, dedication and love to make people feel welcome in our communities.

Every fortnight, the Welcome Dinner Project – Victoria will profile one of its volunteers. We hope this helps you to get to know us better.

Role: Coordinator, Manningham
: East
Joined: 2015

Why I joined WDP
I arrived from India as an international student in 2015 to complete a Masters Degree at Melbourne University. I originally found out about WDP through a Facebook post that was advertising a local dinner. I commented on the post and then was invited to a dinner. After that I decided to join the project and trained as facilitator alongside the second group of volunteers in Victoria.

I wanted to be facilitator to do something useful outside of the classroom, to be involved in the community and make new friends and connections. International students miss their families the most being abroad so I also wanted to help other international students become involved in their local communities and hopefully become involved in the project themselves.

What I’ve enjoyed so far about facilitating dinners is seeing people from all walks of life come together over a shared meal and sharing a connection. I now dedicate my time to expanding the WDP so others can enjoy the benefits too.

I’ve been the Coordinator for the city of Manningham for the past two months. I’m enjoying the role as I now have the freedom to make my own project plans, contribute more, bring in more partnerships and expand the project to the eastern suburbs.

Favourite WDP Memory
Being a facilitator reminds me of home in India – we do a lot of get togethers over food. Making new connections is exciting as is learning about new cultures, seeing how much we all have in common and hearing the stories that are told during welcome dinners.

I have made a lot of good friends through the WDP and recently I was invited to join a family trip to Mount Hotham. It was my first time at the snow and I got some skiing lessons while I was there. Without the WDP an experience like this just wouldn’t have been possible.

A bit about me
I work in Biomedical Science and am involved in cancer research and clinical trials– it’s my passion. I’m also a foodie and I like to cook often. Since joining WDP I’ve really improved my culinary skills and I try out a lot of new recipes that are shared during WDP dinners. My signature dish is honey chicken and rice – another recipe I gained through a WDP dinner. I have a sweet tooth so the dish is the perfect blend of sweet and savoury.

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