I stayed in Semarang, Indonesia for one month to work at ICYE Indonesia (Dejavato Foundation). Before I came here, I couldn’t expect that the Dejavato staffs would be my new family. Let me explain about the reasons why I came to Indonesia, my activities and what I learned from the experiences.
One of the reasons why I chose volunteering in Indonesia is that I wanted to learn Indonesian culture. My major in university is international politics especially about the area of Middle East. Since I took the class about Middle East, I’ve been interested in Islamic culture. Indonesia is famous for its Muslim population. One of the most interesting things for me is that about 90 percent of Indonesian people are Muslims even though freedom of religion is guaranteed in Indonesia. Also, most Japanese people don’t believe in any religions. Because of the fact, our understandings of religions are lacking. I think learning about religions and how Indonesian people understand each other well will be helpful to make Japanese society better in this globalization. For these reasons, I decided to go to Indonesia.
In this volunteering, I had two main tasks to do. Firstly, I needed to support new Japanese volunteers who came every week, because some of them are not good at speaking English and sometimes it makes hard for staffs to understand what Japanese volunteers are thinking. Even though my English skills were still not enough, it was honored for me to help communication between staffs and volunteers. Also, I translated some documents into Japanese for Japanese volunteers. It took a long time to finish translating all, but it was good experience to think again how much English grammars are different from Japanese ones and it was an interesting work overall. Through this work, I met many Japanese volunteers who came to Indonesia with different reasons and aims. I was so motivated by them and my communication skills became better than before although I’m a little bit shy and not so talkative originally.
Secondly, I gave presentations about Japanese culture and my internship at Dejavato to high school and university students. Before I came to Indonesia, I’ve never had opportunities to give a presentation for 45 minutes so it was so hard for me to find many Japanese specific cultures and to make my presentations more interesting for the students. I thought continuing sitting on their chairs and listening to my stories would be so boring for them, so I added some videos and photos. Especially in high school, I taught them Bon Odori, which is really easy and also one of the most popular Japanese traditional dances. I don’t know whether they enjoyed or not, but at least their attitudes were so good while I was teaching dance, so I hope they liked it. And in the Q&A session, I got many questions from the students. I was surprised to know many Indonesian people are interested in Japanese culture. However, one regret for me is that I couldn’t answer to some questions well, because I’ve never been interested in Japanese engineering skills and I didn’t have enough knowledge to discuss Japanese social problems. Through these experiences, I learned Japanese culture again and I realized I needed to know about what’s happening in Japan more.
At the end of this newsletter, I really appreciate all the people I met in Indonesia. They had own characteristics, ways of thinking and dreams. Talking with them was so inspiring for me and it became the trigger to think about my goals and future. Also, I was happy to make many jokes together and make you laugh sometimes. After going back to Japan, I want to study about my major more and continue learning English. I was so glad to work with such a talented Dejavato staffs and share many sweet memories with them. To be honest, I wanted to stay in here with them more. Thank you so much for having me for one month. See you again soon!