Midterms are over! Yay! I had my last midterm exam last Thursday – oral Japanese exam. I was so nervous when I stepped into the classroom, although it was just a conversation with our teacher and one of my classmates as we had been divided into pairs. Having someone else take the exam with me made it feel a bit less intimidating, but talking Japanese is still something that makes me feel nervous.
Last weekend was the Seinan English Camp For Global Leadership where I worked as a student supporter. The camp was for Japanese high school students, who came to our campus to discuss and make a presentation on ways to accomplish world peace, and to hone their English skills in the process. The students were divided into six teams and given three student supporters – one Japanese and two foreigners – to help them make a presentation about how Japan can contribute to world peace in English.
Saturday began with two lectures about U.S. and Japan relations and critical thinking to kindle the discussion. The students had been given and assignment to write an essay about the article 9 of the Japanese constitution and we, the supporters, were given our group members’ essays to read before the camp. Article 9 of the Japanese constitution was composed after World War II and it prevents Japan from renouncing war and using force against other nations. Instead of an army Japan has the Self Defense force, which provides human resources outside and inside Japan in case of crisis. They are not allowed to engage in battle, but to provide supplies and aid to those affected.
Me and my friend got to be the supporters of group 6. The start was hard, since it is not easy to get Japanese students to present their opinions. It isn’t easy for anyone to suddenly tell their opinions on such heavy issues to strangers. But little by little, our students gained enough confidence to get their voices heard. Our time was limited, so we had to rush through the presentation. I’m amazed by the amount of work our students did and how well they focused on the task.
On Sunday morning, we finished the presentation just in time to hold a very quick rehearsal. We supporters had been with them from the beginning, guiding and giving advice and pep talks, but when the students stepped on the stage to present their ideas to the five other groups, teachers and guests, they were on their own. I remember feeling anxious for them as I wanted them to succeed after all the hard work they had done. After our group’s presentation was over, I felt proud. Everyone had done so well and came back to the audience with smiles on their faces. The other groups’ presentations were very interesting and flowed nicely as well. I was amazed by all the ways everyone had come up with to contribute to world peace.
After the presentations were over, we had a farewell party where we got to celebrate the weekend’s accomplishments with good food and discussions. There were also awards given to the best group, best essay, best presenter and best participant. The best group category also had the 3rd best and the 2nd best group awards. When our group was announced as the best group, I was so happy. I was proud of our students, who had evolved a lot in those two days and clearly had fun too. The camp was a good experience that I’ll definitely cherish.
It felt weird to step down from having responsibility over younger students back to having responsibility over my own studies. This week, we’re going to have a 花見, cherry blossom viewing, with our fellow classmates at Oohori park. There’s a high possibility that my next post will be about the cherry blossoms. I’m excited!