In every holiday seasons, the Incheon International airport is filled with university students leaving the country. They usually have the purpose to go abroad and give a hand to the people who need our help, voluntarily and sometimes even paying their own money to help others. They seem very generous on the outside, but do they really aim to just help the others?
Work Camp vs. Volunteering
What is the difference between the work camp and volunteer works? Jang Yong-suk, a sophomore in English Language and Literature, said “I think a work camp is a program which you go abroad to participate in a project, and a volunteering work is the one which you go abroad to purely volunteer. For a volunteer work, you can help the needy people both physically and economically.”
However, a work camp is a volunteering work at the place where the applicant wants to go, in the field of their favorite. It is carried out with the people from other different countries, and lasts for at least two weeks.
An overseas volunteering works are just volunteering works, usually carried out as a part of a program, or a program which is fully designed for the volunteering work itself.
These days, the unemployment of the university graduates is severe. Officially the unemployed university graduates have exceeded well over five million. “To be competitive in a society like this, every students start to study hard from the moment they enter university, and try their best to have specialties. A work camp, and volunteering works overseas, has appeared as the result of it.” said Lee Kyu-hwa, a manager of a small enterprise.
“The Volunteer itself would be meaningful as well, but I also think this is a good stepping stone to my future career.” said an anonymous student in K University. She plans to go to Cambodia this summer for two weeks to volunteer for the poor people there. She has paid 1,200,000 won for the two weeks including her meals and the return trip plane tickets. She is participating as a member in a program sponsored by Paramita. “I believe I can gain a lot of experience and most importantly I need to add a line on my resume as an extra curriculum activity. This is the critical reason why I have decided to take part in this program.”
Also, the programs that are offered by many different organizations have problems as well. A union which wanted to remain unanimous offers overseas volunteering program to students from middle school to university students. According to a participant of this volunteering program, Park Joo-yeon, she said “I did not actually learn anything through the volunteer work. All I remember from the volunteer work is the time I spent with the orphans at the orphanage and my trip to the AnkorWat.”
The Way It Should Be
Dictionary meaning of volunteering is “An act performed by someone who does work without being paid for it, because they want to do it.” This is what each of the university student needs to know.
In our society, there is something more important than getting employed. The people whom the volunteers pretend to help are not the stepping stone for the young competitors to stand on. Some of them desperately need help. However, through volunteer works aimed for another line on their resume, will not give them what they want. Such beliefs or the aims should be renovated with the correct definition of what true volunteering is.
“A true volunteering work should have no purpose. It should be performed by the person’s strong will.” said Lee Ju-yeon, a sophomore in Soongsil University.