The idea that gap-year volunteering is about young British people helping poor communities overseas is outdated and colonialist, according to VSO.
The charity reports a 400 per cent rise in volunteers from poorer countries taking part in its Global Xchange programme, with many choosing the UK as their destination.
It predicts that the trend will continue as university-educated youngsters from developing nations seek the same opportunities as their western counterparts.
"The prevailing attitude towards gap years focuses on how young British people can help poor communities overseas, rather than on what we can learn from those communities," said Judith Brodie, director of VSO UK.
"It's an 'all about us' attitude."