Do international students volunteer more than local students?

Volunteer is an important social group in developing countries. More and more people prefer to do some voluntary work for no financial gain and many different types of voluntary organizations have been developing fast.

With the experience of doing voluntary work in Sydney, I found international students seem to volunteer more than local students. To know more about the truth of this situation, I made several interviews on people who in charge of an voluntary organization in Bankstown and two volunteers who work there

Karina Yewdall, who is in charge of MS organization in Bankstown, works on voluntary for many years. At the beginning of the voluntary activities, Karina always tell volunteers some main points should be pay attention to and give some guidance on practice, such as, how to communicate with and how to serve the patients.

She talked a lot about the reasons and meaning of doing voluntary work. She said, “Members in our organization do some works for community without any payments. It’s our responsibility to help others and give kindness back to this society.”

After this week’s work, she told us the achievements of last project.

“Thank you for your support during our Wrapping project. We have raised totally $37817.25 from Bankstown, Chatswood and Strathfield. Your generous time and hard work will enable people, who suffer from multiple sclerosis, get help from an occupational therapist and help bring back some normalcy to them.”


I have joined this project before. We volunteers wrapped gifts for people in supermarkets and made donations for people suffer from MS. The wrapping was free for people, but they always give some money into our donation box. It was exciting to check the box at the end of activities because we tried our best to raise the money to help people in needs.

After that, I found a chance to talk to her about the doubt if international students volunteer more than local students.

“During my 3-months experience of volunteering in Sydney, I saw more international students do voluntary work than local students. How do u think about this situation?”

“It’s hard to say this is true or not because every voluntary organization has different kind of works, and has different requirements for volunteers. Some of them would prefer to use local students because they need local cultural background. Some of them want to create an international environment for some projects, so they prefer international students.”

She also said that, “Actually, we don’t have to pay too much attention to this problem. Even though there are some statistics about volunteering, we focus on the number of participants and the time of the volunteering.”

According to the data researched by the National Volunteering Strategy, the growth in volunteering is obvious. It seems a good trend that more people would like to join in the voluntary work. However, from 1995 to 2006, the number of adult volunteers and rate of volunteering have increased while the median hours per person per year has been decreasing a lot. For this situation, I made interviews on two volunteers working with me.

“I’m a international student and just been here for several months. I want to try my best to do something to help others. About this problem, I think it probably because people don’t have enough time to do voluntary work. Just like me, I can’t too much time here because I have a great stress of studying and just come here occasionally.” Said by Jacky Lee.

Another local student Amber Yewdall said that, “I have been working here for 2 years. There are more new people volunteering here but they can’t keep doing it. Most of them prefer to try voluntary work, and they just do temporary work. Less of them can volunteer for a long time.”

I started this interview with the purpose of knowing more about the facts, that if international students do more voluntary work than local students. But now, it is more meaningful to care more about the volunteering. No matter how much time people would like to spend on voluntary work and no matter if international students are more or not, it is a good beginning for everyone to volunteer in different organizations and it’s a good trend that more people to join in volunteering to help others.

Primary sources:

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2007, Voluntary Work, Australia, 2006, (cat. no. 4441.0) <>.

[2] Australian Government, National Volunteering Strategy, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, 2011, p. 8 &12

[3] Volunteering Australia 2010, National survey of volunteering issues 2010, available at