Bridging cultures through unpaid labor: US volunteer teachers’ experiences in China’s Yunnan province

Liz JACKSON, Genejane ADARLO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

International volunteering has become a complex field in the context of globalization. Within the discourses of international volunteering and development programs as well as in the voices of volunteers, the field can be understood as one of unpaid transnational labor, as social activism and altruism, and as a new “soft power” post-colonial agenda. Many studies contend in this context that international volunteers need better training for intercultural understanding amidst these disparate frameworks, to make meaning out of their service and effectively contribute to communities they serve. This study examines the motivations, experiences, and challenges of US volunteer teachers in China’s Yunnan Province as reported within a survey implemented in 2012. Findings elaborate on the challenge volunteers face reconciling cross-cultural views of education while working in post-colonial global contexts, and suggest that intercultural training is necessary to prepare volunteers for related global work practices in the future.

國際志願者已經成為了全球化過程中一個複雜的領域。在國際志願者組織及其發展的論述和志願者的話語中可以看出,這個領域已經被理解成一種無報酬的跨國勞工、一種社會活動和利他主義和一種新型後殖民時期的“軟實力”。許多研究都認為,在這些不同的框架下,國際志願者需要更好的跨文化理解力的培訓,以更好的對其服務的社區做出貢獻。通過2012年的一項問卷調查,本研究分析了在中國雲南省做教師的美國志願者們的動機、經驗以及所遇到的挑戰。研究表明,志願者們面臨的挑戰是在後殖民的國際環境中,如果調節跨文化的教育理念。因此,研究認為,跨文化訓練對未來培訓國際志願者是必不可少的。Copyright © 2014 International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2330-2352
JournalVOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations
Volume27
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016

Citation

Jackson, L., & Adarlo, G. (2016). Bridging cultures through unpaid labor: US volunteer teachers’ experiences in China’s Yunnan province. VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 27(5), 2330-2352. doi: 10.1007/s11266-014-9519-1

Keywords

  • Volunteering
  • Intercultural understanding
  • Exchange
  • China
  • Development

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