Community SL Testimonials
|Year 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022 | 2023|
JSSL（Japan Summer Service-Learning) Program
The program allowed me to have an invaluable cross-cultural exchange experience with international students worldwide while in Japan and to reexamine Japanese culture, environment, and history from both the perspective of Japanese and international students. I also had the opportunity to simultaneously interpret the conversations of the host people, which made me realize the difficulty and importance of interpretation.
One of the most memorable aspects of this program was the opportunity to compare Japan and other countries on a wide range of topics such as food culture, family relations, school education, and environmental policy through exchanges with students from overseas. By learning about cultures different from Japan's, I was able to appreciate things that I had previously taken for granted, such as the convenience of transportation and cleanliness of Japanese cities, while at the same time discovering issues such as the impracticality of English education and the lack of vegan food options. It was also interesting to discover aspects of Japan that I had never noticed before as I explored the country with the international students, such as the fact that there are fields close by and environmental education is provided, and that there is a community deep in the mountains of Nagano Prefecture called Tenryu Village, which has a rich history and culture.
Nagasaki University/Nagasaki Foundation for the Promotion of Peace
The program was amazingly fulfilling, with opportunities to talk with experts working on the front lines of the nuclear and diplomatic fields, and to ask questions and exchange opinions with the directors and curators of various archives.
One of the most memorable service activities was managing the Peace Forum, an event about nuclear weapons and peace, together with local high school and university students. Although we had to drastically shorten the scale of the event due to an approaching typhoon, we were able to manage the event on the day with confidence in the study content and guides that dozens of us had prepared. In addition, during the preparation period, we were able to experience the difference in awareness of nuclear weapons among Nagasaki high school students because they were educated and raised in Nagasaki, the site of the atomic bombing. Seeing elementary, junior high, and high school students from all over Japan who participated in the Peace Forum actively asking questions of the hibakusha and expressing their impressions of the lectures, and seeing participants who spoke during the study come to thank us after the event, gave us a sense of accomplishment.
AISL（AIU X ICU Service-Learning）Program
I engaged in the activities on the theme of local connections, multigenerational exchange, and whether regional differences affect children's interests. In Mitaka I first visited an elementary school as the site of my activities. Elementary schools in Mitaka were not yet on spring break at that time, and I was able to observe elementary school students at school and their classes, etc. On the other hand, in Akita Prefecture, elementary schools were on spring break at the time of the year, and it was difficult to compare the activities in Akita with those in Mitaka under the same conditions. However, because of the different conditions, I think it can be said that we were able to see two aspects of the children's place in school and the children's place in the community.
I was very impressed by the fact that we were able to base our activities in two different areas, and that we were able to engage in the activities together with students from Akita International University. I think it can be said that the appeal of this activity was not only the learning about the theme of children's place and community development and service-learning, but also the fact that we were able to make connections with people that will continue in the future.
I decided to engage in the service activities at the NPO Houboku, which I had been interested in since I was still in high school. I contacted them to explain the service-learning program, and negotiated the activity, schedule, etc. I felt as if my independent and practical learning had begun although it was still before the actual activity.
The activities were mainly support for homeless independence and for children and families. Until then, I had seen them as "cases" or "social problems" of someone somewhere, but during the activities, I saw people in difficult situations far beyond my imagination, and I was able to face them as "immediate issues" that I could not be indifferent to or uninvolved with.
I was very impressed by the fact that the site of support truly embodied "reciprocity," an important element of service-learning. At the soup kitchen, I saw people gathered there chatting over coffee regardless of their positions, and I realized that what we are doing for the needy is a place for everyone, including volunteers and staff.
Meisei Elementary School, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
As part of my service activities, I was in charge of assisting the first graders with their studies, assisting in swimming lessons, and assisting in the pool for all grades, as a result, I was able to get to know all the students face to face. Unlike "teaching practice," I was accepted as a "volunteer," so I did not have the chance to teach children in the classroom like a teacher. However, as an alumni of the school, I had the opportunity to teach at the after-school Eisa-dance team practice, and I tried to imitate the teaching methods of the teachers that I had noticed through observing their regular classes. I also tried to teach with a "praise-education" approach. In this way, I was able to experience both input and output by making the most of the opportunities given to me in my own way, and it was a very good activity.
I was surprised to see many children of non-Japanese nationalities attending the school, but I tried to speak with them, and as I continued to translate and converse in English in the classroom, I felt that we became friends and grew closer. I was very happy to see them waving goodbye as they left.
Since I was interested in local communities and issues of loneliness and isolation., I decided to do my activity at Shigencafe Wakuwaku, which has various aspects such as a social farm, a recycle store, a café, and as a community exchange center; a place where people with various backgrounds gather.
Seeing how many different people gathered and spent time at this place made me realize the importance of a community exchange center. I also had the opportunity to talk with many people who work for the NPO and customers, to visit other projects within the same NPO and to talk with people from related organizations. Through the activities, I was able to talk to them about their projects, management of the corporation, welfare, social movements, etc., and I often thought about my future career path. Being able to spend 30 days here was a very important experience in my life.
Although it was a 30-day program, I feel as if I spent most of my summer vacation at the SL activity sites. However, from the bottom of my heart, I am truly glad that I participated in the program, because I was able to approach the reality of social issues beyond the academic knowledge I could learn at university.
I engaged in learning support for children from economically disadvantaged families. While interacting with these children, each of whom had different circumstances, I was able to think about what kind of support they would need in the future from a variety of perspectives.
What impressed me the most through the activities was that children in difficult circumstances cannot be judged at all by their appearance. This was the moment when the stereotype that one could somehow tell whether a child was rich or poor by his or her appearance was shattered.
Chardjou Nishi-Aizu Farm
I engaged in the activities at Chardjou Farm in Fukushima Prefecture and stayed at Dana Village, where I had the experience of living with volunteers from all over the world who had come to farm. I started the program with the intention of learning about environmentally friendly agriculture at the farm, which practices organic farming and non-irrigated farming, which is a cultivation with out water, but during the month I was able to absorb many different things, not limited to agriculture. I learned about agriculture and the environment through daily farm work, and experienced the vegan lifestyle for the first time at Dana Village. I also experienced a lifestyle that does not burden the environment at Dana Village, which serves as an eco-village. It was very difficult to find the host institution of service-learning, but I was able to have a valuable experience that I would not have had in the city.
Through service activities, I met many people and learned about different values and ways of life. At Dana Village, where volunteers gather from all over the world, I was impressed by the many opportunities to experience values I had never encountered before.