Saturday, July 20, 2013

Chinese university students volunteer at local food bank.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette both had stories on the 17th about a group of Chinese students from Zhejiang University who volunteered at a local food bank. From the Post-Gazette:
Some may ask why the first-time visitors to the United States would spend their vacation, one that cost each student about $5,000, volunteering at a food bank. Shouldn't they be spending their time exploring Times Square or touring the White House?

Hands-on service such as the work at the food bank is an experience the students couldn't get in China.

While studying English in school, the Chinese students read about Americans building houses for those in need or serving food to the homeless at soup kitchens. The students wanted to help others like the individuals in their textbooks, but these types of service opportunities aren't common in China.

Xu Yinan, a 20-year-old studying finance, explained that service in China is largely limited.

Chinese do-gooders often visit orphanages to teach children how to read or retirement homes to talk to senior citizens. There are few opportunities for those in China to get their hands dirty through service and actually help people in need, she said.