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Yang Jia's Diary: Volunteer
    2008-09-08 21:17:14     CRIENGLISH.com

Volunteer is a catchy word. It sounds musical to my ears because I happen to be the instructor on the volunteer program. We worked for one solid year from last autumn all the way now.

Volunteer training work is mainly for those who work at sports venues. The Paralympics has to train its volunteers more strictly and with a higher standard. One of the volunteer programs is called cross-culture communication and Paralympic English. In my class, I would ask questions like this, “When you come across a person who has an artificial limb going through security check, I am sure it will make lots of noise like ‘dingdingding dongdongdong’. What would you do to serve them? And for the medal presentation ceremony, if this person is blind, should I tell him what color the flowers are? Do the blind care about the color or if I mention the color of the flowers, would it hurt his feelings?” The answer is simple. The blind people are just as interested in color as everyone else. Their world can be very colorful, and they have rich imaginations. They are fascinated by colors.

We all know that in cross culture communication, eye contact is very important. When somebody is on the wheel chair, in order to show respect and equality, our volunteers learn not to stand but lower their body when they are talking to him or her. They realize it’s better to lower their body so that their eye contact could be more equal, instead of looking down upon at somebody while talking.

Independent living is very important to a person with disabilities too. Volunteers must remember first to ask for one’s permission when they offer their help. For our Chinese young volunteers, they are energetic, and very warm-hearted. They never overdo it.

That’s the art of communication. There are lots of skills for them to learn, taking terminology for instance. Those college students, they love studying English, and they have a big vocabulary. But there are some terms they need to avoid, like the term for people with disabilities. For “canji” in Chinese, handicapped is backward now. Instead, we use “people with disabilities”. So, they need to know the latest international convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.

For the volunteer program, I have full confidence in my students. They have been trained very hard. Now it’s time for them to shine. I’m sure they are the best culture ambassadors. May they fly as high as their talents can carry them!

 
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