TOM IN JAPAN
My name is Tom and I have been volunteering in Japan for 6 months.
My first project was working at a ‘free school’ in Hiroshima prefecture, which was called Swiss Mura. My second project was working at an animal shelter in Tokushima, which was called Heart Tokushima.
MY ROLES AT MY PROJECTS
During my time at Swiss Mura I used to teach English to students between the ages of 10-17. Also, I went on trips with the students (to go fishing, sporting events etc.) My secondary role was to work on my host family’s farm.
At Heart Tokushima, I spent my time walking, feeding and cleaning out dogs at the shelter. I also collected dogs from the surrounding area.
A TYPICAL DAY FOR ME IS…
At Swiss Mura: I would wake up early and go for a run. Then, I would have breakfast and do my morning chore. This would be followed by English teaching, and then work on the farm until lunch. After lunch we would play sports, and have free time. At Heart Tokushima: I would go to work at around 10am and walk dogs until around 1pm. Then I would have lunch, and continue walking and feeding the dogs until around 5pm. Then I would return to the apartment.
WHAT I’VE BEEN UP TO WHEN I’M NOT VOLUNTEERING
Whilst at my projects, I used to go out at the weekends with my host parents. They showed me the area that I was living in, and took me to see interesting things (Tokushima whirlpools etc.) After finishing volunteering, I spent a month travelling around Japan. I met many of my friends, who I had met whilst volunteering. Some of my friends for the UK also came to visit me.
THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT LIVING & VOLUNTEERING IN JAPAN IS
Learning the language! Being able to properly communicate with the people I lived with was great!
FROM MY VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT I LEARNT/GAINED
I learnt to be independent and self-sufficient. I also learnt to speak some Japanese! I gained confidence in myself and my abilities.