CAE Reading and Use of English Part 6
You are going to read four commentaries on working abroad as a volunteer. For questions 37-40, choose from the reviews A-D. The extracts may be chosen more than once.
Volunteering for work abroad
Four commentators write about the increase in ‘voluntourism’ and people doing volunteer work abroad.
There are many so-called ‘voluntourism’ agencies that specialise in arranging trips for well-meaning students and other people who want to do voluntary work abroad. These agencies charge the volunteers a fee but the volunteers themselves are unpaid. Most of these paying volunteers do have a sincere desire to do good. But how much good they actually do may depend on the extent to which the trips are organised with the needs of the target communities in mind, rather than those of the volunteers. For example, on average, volunteers only stay two weeks, which is not enough time for them to make their mark on the community they work with. It is easy to criticise this system and the hypocrisy of an industry that sells the experience of helping others while developing its own interests. Ultimately, however, voluntourism creates important links to sources of funding for needy communities. These links could be impossible to make without the physical presence of volunteers.
Over the years, many students have chosen to do voluntary work overseas but now this has become far more complicated.The reason may be the growth of ‘voluntourism’ agencies which are driven by an underlying commercial agenda. This is not the only complication, however.
The relationship between different countries is complex and many emerging market countries are booming. Some are arguably better run than so-called developed countries and, consequently, the view that help is a one-way gift is old-fashioned. In this case, agencies do have a part to play. Voluntourism should be seen as a two-way exchange which is as good for the giver as the receiver. The volunteers themselves probably remain convinced of their ability to change the world but what is actually more valuable for them is the way the experience of listening to and learning from other cultures can bring about a change in attitude.
It is said that volunteering enables students to become more concerned global citizens and then potentially push for policy change. Ultimately, this may be the biggest benefit of doing voluntary work, rather than what any idealistic volunteer dreams they can achieve during their trip, which is usually far beyond what is possible. What volunteers often underestimate, however, is the fact that new ideas put into practice in the developing world can also have relevance back home. The spread of such ideas can be an important outcome of the growth of volunteering in general. Of course, this type of ‘reverse innovation’ is not what was imagined years ago but it is a sign of shifting times and changing attitudes.
The impact of volunteering on those who choose to do it can be very different. Volunteers may arrive in a critical frame of mind, unprepared to try and understand the local way of life. This may be because their underlying assumption is that it needs changing. Their aim is, then, to do this, although it is actually impossible. Volunteering may not always be a positive experience and there may be negative aspects, so volunteers need to have the right attitude. Many who react negatively are simply disappointed because of their unfulfilled expectations of what was realistically achievable. They have not understood that in the end, volunteering is as much about what they can learn and share as what they can change. Of course, this doesn’t mean idealistic students and others should simply stay at home but they should revise their expectations. If volunteering were sold as a learning experience, this would be more useful and more honest.
37 expresses a different view from the others about the real value of volunteering?
38 has a similar opinion to Commentator В about the benefits of the experience to the volunteer?
39 shares Commentator D’s concerns about what volunteers feel they are able to do?
40 holds a similar opinion to Commentator C about changes in modern attitudes to volunteering?