Mar. 18, 2020

SL Ambassador's Blog★Graduate talks about the experience of SL program in India

My Experience of SL program in Union Christian College (India) [Reflection]


 SL Ambassador Ayumu
 March 17, 2020
 #Union Christian College #India #Summer 2017


I’m Ayumu, SL Ambassador.

In 2017, I participated in the SL program at Union Christian College (UCC) in India. I will write an article reflecting my experience at that time as my graduation approaches. This is the life story for two and a half years, from SL activity to the present.


What I did
In the summer of 2017, I engaged in service-learning activities at Union Christian College (UCC) in Kerala, India (south west coast side)! Since there were many activities at various schools, I think it would be better to categorize them as "education". What did I do specifically ...?

The main activity was service in elementary school and blind school. I introduced Japanese culture and helped with (or observed) classes. Kerala uses its own language, Malayalam, not Hindi. I couldn't understand the language at all, but I played with children using gestures and facial expressions.


At the university, I had the opportunity not only to introduce Japanese culture, but also to give a presentation on history and ‘prejudice’. It was a meaningful time to discuss the differences between India and Japan in terms of culture, customs and values. For example, in India where gender distinction is strict, new ideas such as LGBT seemed fresh and I was asked many questions. In India, which has religious diversity, it is natural to have religion, so it seemed difficult to understand that many Japanese people don’t follow a particular religion. Even in India, which is said to be a country of diversity, it was an experience that I realized the "diversity" that was still deep enough.


And on August 6 and 9 during the activity. On the day of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we introduced the atomic bomb and its tragic history on behalf of Japanese university students. I talked with university students and at local elementary schools as a peace education, and told them that our generation would take over “No war”.


This is the summary of the service-learning activities in India. In addition, I was involved in various activities that allowed me to know the local area, such as one-day trip-like sightseeing and interaction with dormitory people. One month went by so fast and it was too short to carry out something.

Through Service-Learning (SL)
While actually participating in the SL activities, I felt conflicted and annoyed in the fun and excitement. There are so many things that I felt, jumping into a world I didn't know, and I think they all shaped me today. Among them, I would like to list some of the "notices" that have had an impact on myself.

・I don’t have enough knowledge or skills!
・I don't have enough English skill!
・What is volunteering? What is development?
・For whom do I do SL? For what? Why?
・I often hear "Sustainable development". What is it?
・Does the “right education” exist ? What is the quality of education? What is the quality of the teacher? These "questions" have changed my course significantly.

Originally, I wanted to work in the field of international cooperation, and my goals remain the same. However, when I think what I can do at work after graduating from university, I couldn't come up with anything. I came to want to work after deepening my expertise and having skills, and it becomes one of my options to go on to graduate school.
The decisive factor in my final decision to go to graduate school is my experience of the foreign exchange program in the UK which I had dreamed. I was studying development studies intensively and I felt "Ah, it's fun to study what I like. I didn't like studying, but maybe I could do it in this area."

I remember that I was immersed in studying at the library and it was 4 o'clock in the morning, which was the first and the last experience for me.
After coming back to Japan, I wrote my graduation thesis and was involved in service-learning as an SL ambassador. Two years have passed since I participated in SL program but my reflection has not ended and will continue after my graduation.

What I am going to do
After graduating, I go on to graduate school in April and would like to specialize in development studies and education studies. I am still thinking what to study specifically ...
I decided to go on to graduate school considering my career, but even after finishing my master's degree in graduate school, I might still worried that there are too many things left for me to do before starting work . I would like to continue to challenge in the future in order to avoid such a situation. Experience and learning at ICU. Thinking through SL and other events. I will continue to make use of them and connect them to my future student life.
I hope to see you soon!