The True Mind in Volunteer Work
The True Mind in Volunteer Work
  • Park Kim Haena
  • 승인 2009.10.09 21:51
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Many Sookmyungians are doing volunteer work at least 10 hours a semester.  There are various unions of collegestudent volunteer work clubs and many volunteer clubs in every university colleges. Recently, many college students are trying to find volunteer works abroad supported by an enterprise, and volunteer services to do mentoring in a children’scenter.  They have experience to take part in volunteer works at least once or twice.  However, is college students’ volunteer work sincere?  Is it long lasting?  This month the Sookmyung Times is going to look into the college students’ volunteering.



Attitude toward VolunteeringⅠ




 The meaning of ‘voluntarism’ is originated from the Latin word ‘voluntas.’  This means that the volunteer work is an activity which is done of one’s own accord, not by force.  However, today voluntary work does not mean ‘free will’ to Korean college students.  That’s because, for them, time doing social service is important not only for graduation but also for employment.  At the university, social volunteer work is acknowledged as a credit and it is necessary for students to win a scholarship.  For instance, SungkyunKwan University requires 30 hours of volunteer work to graduate and Sookmyung requires 10 hours a semester to gain a scholarship, so students have to do social service if they want to or not.  When asked, “Why do you do volunteer activity?”  SMU student Kim, in the Economics Department said, “To receive a scholarship, it is necessary for me to do it.”  Another student Kim in the Department of Business Administration said, “If it is not related to scholarship, I am not about to do volunteer activity.  Rather, I will be concentrated on getting a future job.”  In former days, volunteer work was done with purity, but now, it has become a means for credit or necessity of school life.  The problem is that these volunteer activities do not continue.  Students are more likely to attend a festival to do campus cleaning rather than the work which really helps people who need it.  What’s more, after final exams, when the deadline for volunteer activity confirmation is only a few days off, many SMU students donate blood because whenever students donate blood, this is acknowledged as three hours of community service.   Sungkyunkwan University approves donating blood as ten hours volunteer work, so students can sufficiently fulfill ten hours among the 30 hours.  Also, another popular volunteer work is to do arranging the books in the National Central Library or city library.  This does not require continuous activity and students can apply on that day.  Public institutions and social welfare organizations do not welcome students since they already know college students’ volunteering is a one-time activity. This shows that nowadays college students tend to consider volunteer works as a means to get a scholarship.  That is, people do not volunteer to help households with low income, or people who sincerely need help, but they are volunteering for themselves.




 Attitude toward Volunteering Ⅱ




 Students also need to do volunteer work to get a job, so they search from the place to place during the vacation.  The company also gives more marks in the interview to the students who have experience doing volunteer work.  When the company confirms the volunteer works’ result, they tend to value overseas volunteer work more positively.  Doing volunteer work abroad is catching on among college students.  Activities supported by sectors

of the government or enterprises go forward for at least one month to three months.  If students become volunteers, they teach Hangul and Korean culture in developing countries.  While volunteering, students can receive living expenses and the cost of activities.  This is the perfect opportunity for students to learn English, travel to another country, and earn some money under the name ‘volunteer work.’  Yu, a department of Culture and Tourism student at SMU, said people can improve English skill at a low cost and don’t want to take part in the voluntary activities for farmers because it is not helpful in employment.  According to the interview, students have a lot of interest in volunteer work abroad.  On the other hand, they less attend the voluntary activities for domestic rural communities.  According to the Segye Ilbo, when Keimyung University invited 100 volunteers to work abroad, 2,000 students applied, but in A-jou University, the number of students applying to do voluntary activities for farmers has decreased by 50 students each year since 2000.  This year, only 10 students per college on campus applied.  Chonbuk University also had a plan to perform voluntary activities for rural communities, but they collect just 400-500 students.  Last winter vacation, ChoongAng University recruited twenty students to volunteer in the , and the competitive rate was ten chances to one, but the interest in the voluntary activities for rural communities was low, and only 20 students per college on campus applied.  Hanyang University was the same.




 Place to Need Help




 However, rural communities really need the youths’ help.  The rural residents want many students to take part in volunteer programs.  Resident Eumseong Gun said if farmers did not control the crops at an appointed time, the quality of crops would be deteriorated, so all family members have to do farming.  Recently, she often hears many of the young people go abroad to volunteer.  Of course she thinks it is important to help those in extreme poverty, but that is possible to take part in any time among the four seasons.  She said in the interview with Chosun Ilbo she hopes the quarter of human power related to the abroad volunteer work will be used in Korean agriculture.  In addition, Kil, in the Humanities Department at SMU who had experience to volunteer in a rural community said, “The residents were really pleased, saying we were a great help to the farm work. If we had not helped, they would have worked for one month, but we finished all the work in a week.  So at that time I found out the farmers really need the help, and by helping them, I was pleased and my heart was full.”  The study room where there are a church, a village office, and a settlement house also need consistent college students’ service.  In this place there are lots of elementary and middle school students who do not have good education.  They need mentors. At the community children’s center in Hwajung Dong, Kwangjoo, there are 36 children, but this year the center has not found a teacher who is willing to help them.  Shin, the person in charge of this center, said that college students pay attention to study related to employment, so it is hard to find a volunteer teacher.  Even if they find a volunteer teacher, it is common for them to quit for personal reasons, which is a real problem for a place that requires a long term commitment.  Also, she said in Kwangjoo News, “There are more students who want to get credit than students who want to work voluntarily with a pure heart, so most students quit after filling up the required hours.  I am put to inconvenience when I see the students to volunteer by means of a credit and employment.” According to the Joins News, Myungji University student Kang took part in ‘Brother & Sister Happy Project.’  At first, he had worried because he had to spend his weekend to the Children Study Center and the children did not say anything to him.  However, after a few days, the children asked for his advice and talked to him about their troubles.  He said, “A child who has family trouble talks to me because he wants to earn money as quickly as possible, so he asks how to earn money.  He is a like a grown-up.  I could help him by giving advice and teaching.  Often, I didn’t have enough time to prepare for my exams, but I got more valuable things through the volunteer work, for example, responsibility.”  He continued and said that volunteer work just one time is not meaningful.






Having a True Mind




volunteer work is meaningful for college students.  Through the volunteer work, students can grow and learn how to co-operate with others, and can contribute to society.  The secretary-general of the Korean Council of Volunteering said that college students can have a chance to experience other cultures, build social networks, and improve their abilities as social leaders.  Volunteering is helpful not only to college students but also to society.  Most importantly, before the volunteering, students will think about why they do volunteer work and what it means to them.  That is, they will have the true attitude to the volunteer, not participating only when they need the confirmation of volunteer hours for employment.  A service mind is required for the college students. For this, the schools also need to systematize the volunteer certification system.  They can have the ability to distinguish whether it is merely called the volunteer work.  Also, the school will promote the students to render public service positively.  To do this, education related to the volunteering attitude will be helpful.  Through this time, Sookmyungians will be people who have a true mind and do socially-mined activities for a long time for others who need help, not just for themselves.








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