Student volunteers seize opportunity to shine
Student volunteer Ge Xuezheng is looking forward to seeing all his hard work pay off at the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai.
The 21-year-old senior, who majors in Arabic at Shanghai International Studies University, was among the first 16 volunteers recruited on Sept 12 to help prepare for the expo. Although the work has been demanding, Ge said he is happy to play a part in the event.
Before the event, Ge regularly worked from 9 am to 10 pm with only a two-hour break. He was assigned to a five-strong team tasked with printing more than 600,000 ID cards for exhibitors, traders and venue employees.
“I may be one of the first volunteers in my university’s history to do such intense ‘assembly line’ work, rather than language-related duties,” he said. “But I consider this a rare chance to steel myself and be part of one of the most important national events.”
Over 5,200 student volunteers from universities in Shanghai and the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui have been trained to provide services at the expo, ranging from offering directions, emergency management to translations, according to the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the Communist Youth League of China.
Shanghai International Studies University, which offers 33 language courses including English and Russian, provided 350 volunteers.
Ou Yiting, 22, who majors in Japanese, volunteered to work in the media and cultural affairs division of Shanghai’s Foreign Affairs Office. Her main tasks involve collecting public feedback and providing translation services. “I translate news on the expo in Japanese, as well as information related to Shanghai, such as introductions to exhibits and city attractions, into Chinese,” she said.
“I’ve come to understand that the expo is not merely an exhibition about imported goods and services, but rather an important action demonstrating China’s embracing of greater openness.”
Zhuang Xiaolin, deputy secretary of the university’s Communist Youth League committee, said the college organized training for volunteers in September, with sessions focusing on international etiquette, economy and trade, and international relations.
In 2010, Liao Wenqi, the committee’s secretary, was a volunteer information officer at the Shanghai World Expo. He said he believes CIIE will show the world how Chinese people have progressed in the past eight years.
“The 2010 expo showed the world a generation of openminded Chinese who were ready to embrace the world. CIIE is showing the world what China’s global citizens are like today,” he said. Yu Ruyue contributed to this story.
A volunteer gives a participant directions at the expo.