Volunteer's hard work has its own rewards

By Zhou Enbo (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-09-03 08:24
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 Volunteer's hard work has its own rewards

Zhou Enbo is a part-time manager at the United Nations licenced store. Provided to China Daily

The vagaries of the city's weather cannot stop enthusiastic visitors from all over the world coming to Expo 2010 Shanghai. With a continuously increasing number of visitors, the demand for staff at the Expo Garden has increased as well.

I am then very honored and pleased to have been hired by the United Nations Development Program to work as a part-time manager at its licensed store in the United Nations Pavilion.

I have carried out many tasks even though my job begun just a few weeks ago. For example, I have accompanied officials from the United Nations on tours around the pavilion during their visits. I also sell products at the counter and take stock in the warehouse.

Sometimes I hardly have any rest from 9:30 in the morning till 9:30 in the evening; it is really a tough job. However, a tough job can be interesting as well, especially when I meet visitors who like to talk.

I remembered once there were two French visitors chatting whether they should buy something in the store. I found I could not help myself to join their conversation by talking to them in French, as it is my major at university.

They looked pretty surprised and replied in French immediately. They were very curious about how I could speak their language and we had a great time talking with each other. That experience made me confident that foreign visitors will have a better understanding of our country after they visited the Expo.

Another time, a foreign couple enquired about the price of a souvenir, but as soon as I told them the price, they asked me to take out a calculator. I didn't know why they had asked for a calculator until I suddenly realized that they were trying to negotiate a price with me.

I smiled and explained to them that the prices were fixed. The gentleman laughed and gave me back the calculator. Afterwards, I could not stop thinking about why the image of negotiating prices is so deeply implemented into foreigners' minds when they visit China. Will our image change if local people can show more friendliness?

Last year, when I participated in the 300-day countdown to the Expo, it was something that was far in the future for me. Now, I find myself part of this wonderful event. And I will continue to work hard and reach my potential in an effort to contribute to this global event during my remaining time at the UN Pavilion.

The author is an employee with the United Nations licensed store and a student at Shanghai International Studies University.

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