What insights can students gain from a volunteer experience at Tekom as TCLoc student?
I, along with a classmate, Dorothée Manteau, recently attended tekom Nordic for a conference on
technical communication and software localization. We were two volunteer students taking up a
Master’s in Technical Communication and Localization (TCLoc) at the University of Strasbourg.
The event was held at Scandic Hotel Sydhavn in Copenhagen, Denmark, from September 21-22,
2022, and welcomed over 150 participants from over 20 countries. It was also the occasion to
celebrate tekom Denmark’s 10th anniversary. This volunteer experience at Tekom consisted of having each day informative talks and engaging workshops on technical communication topics such as documentation tools, semantic web, AI, and organizational processes.
A week before, Ivona Weimer, event organizer at tekom, called us for a volunteer orientation, giving
us details about the event, and the various tasks and responsibilities expected of us, volunteers. It
was a great opportunity for us to meet members from the European technical communication scene,
and learn about events organization through various volunteering assignments.
A day before the event, my co-volunteer and I met up with the speakers to participate in an
organized walking tour of Copenhagen and have dinner at Restaurant Puk, one of Copenhagen’s
oldest restaurants. As volunteers, it was important to ensure the speakers felt welcome and warmed
up to a new place before their presentations.
Day 1: Conference at tekom
Maiken Blok, president of tekom Denmark, opened the conference with a warm welcome and
shared with us, tekom Denmark’s 10-year history. Ray Gallon, co-founder of The Transformation
Society and also a professor at TCLoc , then inspired us with his speech on the 21st-century
challenges, we, members of the technical communication community, have to face.
There was a lineup of over 20 talks and workshops to choose from, but there were 2 or 3 of them
happening at the same time in different rooms. It was a difficult choice, as you could only choose
one to attend. The background of speakers was diverse, from consultants to Ph.D. students, to
professors, to technical experts, and the subjects ranged from operational to academic, from
technical to philosophical. There were enough breaks in-between conferences to discuss with the
speakers and participants and visit the sponsor stands.
Day 2: Technical Communication Workshops and Wrap-up
Day 2 was the day of workshops, and my co-volunteer and I arrived earlier to meet up with
Katharina Willer, our volunteer team lead. She briefed us on our tasks of registering participants for
the workshops they signed up for. At 9 am, the participants started coming in, and my co-volunteer
and I were both happy to welcome them to their respective workshops. After signing up everyone,
we were then free to attend the workshops.
Maiken Blok, once again took the stage, to wrap up the 2-day event with a closing speech. The
strength of the conference is in its cozy venue and high level of personal interaction. This allowed
quality conversations to transpire and lent a stronger sense of community to everyone that attended.
Learnings and Insights as Volunteer Experience at Tekom
Volunteering at conferences is a great way to meet and learn from industry experts and gain skills in
events management. It teaches you valuable soft skills such as teamwork, collaboration, and
responsibility as you work together with the event organizers, volunteer team leads, and fellow
As a student, my volunteering is a good opportunity to apply my learnings outside the classroom,
and attend the event for free in exchange for helping out. It opens doors to future collaborations or
job prospects through the people you have met. Oftentimes, it can be intimidating to be in a room
with hundreds or thousands of people, but having a volunteer role becomes an easy icebreaker to
introduce oneself and socialize.
Lastly, no contribution is too small, and as part of the community, this is one of the many ways we
students can give back.
Interested in a career in Technical Communication? Check out the University of Strasbourg’s Master in
Technical Communication and Localization (TCLoc) course offering, and tekom, Europe’s biggest
organization on Technical Communication.