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Foreign volunteers see the rewards of their work

By Fei Lai (Shanghai Daily)

09:48, April 25, 2012

For Isaac Asare, from Ghana, volunteering is "a good way to know what's happening in this city."

Asare, aged 29, has just completed his master's degree in industrial economics at the Business School of Donghua University and has been involved in a variety of voluntary work, including teaching middle school student English and visiting senior citizens' homes. For him, one of the most memorable experiences was volunteering during the World Expo Shanghai 2010.

"Volunteering is an opportunity to make friends, practice my Mandarin with local people and also do something meaningful in my spare time," says Asare.

"I feel really happy and satisfied through volunteering."

Arriving in Shanghai in 2008, he has a great interest in Chinese culture and also thinks that being able to speak Chinese will provide him with more future opportunities.

To Asare, volunteering is also a good way to learn new things and "make true and real friends."

Asare will further his education by studying for a PhD degree in business administration at Donghua University in September. And he hopes to continue to make a positive impact on the lives of people around him.

"What I would wish the city to develop is its people. The city's infrastructure is well advanced but most residents' knowledge of the cultures of people from different parts of the world is very poor," he says.

"Showing concern for one another should be encouraged as should the notion of respecting and helping the elderly in society."

"Kids should not be over-pampered and should be well-disciplined for them will be responsible in the future," says Asare.

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DAYKeiLjyutRTlkPTzj at 2012-06-0194.23.1.*
they no longer weatnd young volunteers because they only land them in trouble with the police or are extra work because staff have to babysit them to ensure they dont get into trouble. Still considering the huge amounts of good work that volunteers (the sensible ones) have done in the past and continue to do, I have high hopes for volunteerism. My only plea to those of us that assist in any way to get young volunteers abroad is that we should ensure they undergo some sort of cultural orientation that emphasises 1)respecting others' culture and laws no matter how strange they seem ( Eeeuw! as half my students would say) 2)Being aware of how helping across cultures can make or break stereotypes and that they are a part of it and 3)Particularly for their mental well-being, also realising that they cant change the place in one trip so not to be too hard on themselves. I have of course contributed to this discussion mostly from what I'm familiar with. Western volunteers in developing countries. Well prepared volunteers may indeed be one small contribution towards fairer international co-operation. Particularly the young whose ways are not set and who are future leaders
  

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