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The development progress of university international volunteer teams: Based on three educational service volunteer teams in the north Taiwan areas
International Volunteer Teams
The purpose of this study was to explore the development progress of university international volunteer teams which had offered educational service at the same foreign country since their establishment. The establishment progress of the volunteer teams and the participation motivation of the members served as the first focus of this investigation; second, the operation and the development of the volunteer teams; last, the major factors which influence the development of the volunteer teams. Qualitative approach was adopted in this research, since the development progress of these volunteer teams was dynamic, which required a long-term investigation and analysis. The unique development progress of each team and their rich service content were the major targets of this research. Thus, individual interview of the team members was used to provide a fuller picture of the operation of each team. Triangulation was also conducted to enhance the reliability and validity. Three conclusions are drawn based on this research: 1. There is uniqueness in the establishment of the volunteer teams and in the participation motivation of each member. 2. The international volunteer teams go through the following six stages: “establishment of relationship”, “confirmation of goals”, “consensus and prospects”, “obstacles and conflicts”, “mature operation”, and “the end of the team”. 3. The major factors which influence the development of the volunteer teams are: problem-solving and decision-making, leadership, interaction among members, and communication. Four suggestions are put forward for improving the development of university international volunteer teams: 1.It requires the navigation of the leaders and the proposals from the members in problem-solving and decision-making. Inextricable problems could be left for time to undo the knot. 2.The leaders should be experienced, calm and precautious, open-minded and respectful to the members. They should navigate the reconciliation, communication, and coordination among members. 3.It takes flexible approaches for international volunteers to solve problems for the purpose of inducing mutual respect for individual and cultural differences, and the sharing of beliefs and values. 4.It takes effort to enhance communicative abilities. The leaders should be those who help the improvement of the members, and maintain a good inter-communication to facilitate the development of the team in each stage.
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