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July 12, 2010

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Foreign university students finish Expo service

TEN foreign students of Shanghai University concluded their volunteer work at the World Expo site yesterday.

Many people including some Expo staffers working with them didn't realize that they were foreigners, because they have Asian faces and a good command of Chinese, except for Ozgur Oztop, a native of Turkey.

The other nine foreign students either come from Asian countries or are descendants of Chinese. But Oztop's face always made visitors hesitate.

"I usually just take the initiative and ask them what I can do for them in Chinese," he said.

Oztop said he would explain to them that he is also an Expo volunteer and speaks Chinese fluently.

"Your Chinese is very good," many Chinese visitors told him after he provided help. This always made him happy and proud.

However, not every experience is so memorable.

His post at the southern square of the China Pavilion was challenging due to the enthusiasm of visitors.

Oztop said he had to keep visitors, who like to stop and take photos of the pavilion, moving and comfort those who failed to get reservation tickets for the always popular China Pavilion.

Some even blamed him because they were not able to get reservation tickets.

"It's too hot," he said.

"People are more likely to have a bad temper in the extreme hot weather and long lines."

Su Jin Lee, a South Korean volunteer working near the cable cars in the China Pavilion, said: "The questions are very similar. You have to be very patient."

She suffered a sore throat for repeating information over and over.

"Visitors tend to treat the repetition as background music and ignore it," she said. "A slip of the tongue is also easy when you are saying the same thing all the time."

She said her biggest disappointment was that she has yet to meet any South Koreans at the Expo.

The 10 Shanghai University students are among the approximately 200 expatriate volunteers living on the Chinese mainland to be selected as Expo volunteers.


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