How International Volunteering Supports the Development of Ambition in Young People: A Pilot Study of European Young People whom Conducted Volunteer Service in Bali, Indonesia.
Many youth projects aim to empower and support the development of young people to be confident active members of society (DfE 2011). To achieve this, I would argue that young people need to be
motivated to become ambitious.
Numerous youth projects can be very effective at this, but I would like to investigate if international projects are particularly strong at achieving this. International youth projects cover a wide
variety of actions from exchanges, training, volunteering, etc. For this investigation, I will focus on volunteering.
Overseas volunteering has become a desirable educational opportunity that young people want to explore. However, international volunteering also comes with the stigma that overseas volunteering is
just a vacation or even damaging, (Birrell 2010). On the other side, like all types of educational programmes quality will vary dependent on the placement, projects and support volunteers receive.
However, because the placements are international, the volunteers are in a consistent place of challenge. Being challenged on values such as time perception, power distance and individualism to
name a few (Hofstede 1984c), as well as learning cultural competency skills to engage with locals on their projects. Despite the frustration that can come with these challenges, international
projects are still able to motivate young people through the projects they work on whether they are achieved or not.
Both Sirotas Three-Factor Theory (2005) and McClellands Human Motivation Theory (1961) argue that achievement is a key factor in motivation. Whereas Amabile and Kramers Progress Theory (2011)
argue that, even failure can lead to feelings of motivation and ambition. One of the worlds largest volunteer organisations VSO stated,
“A person engaged in volunteering benefits from increased
self-confidence in their power as an individual to influence
change and inspire others”. (VSO)
The work I am engaged in has been hosting and sending volunteers for the last 2 years. On average, as an organisation, we have witnessed great changes in the development of ambition and motivation
in these young people. This investigation wants to explore if overseas volunteer placement did: a) develop the sense of ambition, and if so, b) does this have the potential for many others to
benefit from this process. Numerous research seems to exist about the benefits of volunteering to its communities, social cohesion or the skills and confidence the volunteers developed, but little
seems to exist about international volunteering contribution to the development of ambition.
Research aims and objectives:
• Identify why young people chose international volunteering over national volunteering
• Identify if volunteering increase the feelings of motivation and ambition, and would this have been the same if they volunteered locally
• Identify if any specific factors contributed to the developed feeling of ambition
• If ambition has been achieved as a result of the project, how this has then effected the lives of these volunteers
Data will be collected using semi-structured interviews. Interviews will be semi-structured to allow a more in-depth questioning to points that may arise through the interviews. The research is
looking to gather qualitative data, as it is believed that the subject matter is about feelings and emotions. Therefore a qualitative approach is favoured.
Interviews will be conducted online via Skype, as all participants are located in different countries. Interviews will be recorded and transcripts made for further data analysis.