Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I love my (volunteer) job!

Some days I really do love my volunteer job. Unfortunately today was my last day for this school year as there are only 5 more days. For those of you who are new, I volunteer at 友人学園 (Yujin Gakuen) Elementary School.

So anyways, today was my last day at Yujin Gakuen. Everything happened as usual except that my fellow volunteer taught part of the day's class. There was no homework to help the students correct so it felt like I milled around a lot helping where I could and making sure everyone understood.

After math and Kanji, it was about time for the kids to go to their next class, but instead Jemei Sensei had me come up to the front of the classroom. I assumed I was just going to say goodbye, but instead the class presented me with a packet of thank you letters they had written for me.

Letter from Heidi.

After that they sang a couple of songs for me, one was the song for the teachers at YG another was a song called Believe at the end and lastly a goodbye friend song. It was very amazing and I was completely blown away (4th graders rock at singing by the way!). I was literally at a loss for words.

Letter from Jeremie, a student I worked in particular with to help teach hiragana.
His was the only letter to contain English since he transferred into the school late.
He was also the first elementary school student to use my worksheets from http://kidsjapanese.com




One of the students, who didn't quite like to pay attention in class, presented me with a bouncy ball and Pokemon card and another student gave me a drawing she had made for me. Overall, I was entirely overwhelmed. I don't think I can explain how much so.

Picture by Marion
You're probably wondering what this has to do with study abroad. Well, it doesn't this time. Not really anyways. I started volunteering to get some practice speaking Japanese, but the overall experience has more than confirmed that I really want to become a teacher.

On another note, I'm working on the post-interview process of my study abroad application. Today I learned that I have an academic adviser who has been assigned to me since I declared my major and I met with her. She was very friendly and we went over what I need to graduate. 55 credits left to go until graduation, given that all of my classes fill one requirement or another, about year and a half of school before I go onto the graduate stuff. Moving on, that's all done now and I'll have an appointment with my doctor soon for a physical to complete the documents due soon.

The view from the 4th floor window of Friendly Hall waiting for my advising appointment.

One piece of advice for those of you thinking about going abroad, read your forms before you take them in! I didn't read my travel clinic form and found out that, unlike the other documents, it will not be due until a week or so before I go abroad. The receptionist kindly had to turn me down and tell me to wait to come back until the term before I go abroad so that I will be given the most up to date information.

Last note, if you're looking into go abroad look into your vaccinations in advance. Insurance doesn't cover many of them and they can be VERY expensive. There are many sites online which can give you a general outline, but don't base your facts on the internet alone. Make sure to schedule an appointment with a travel clinic before you go abroad. They can advise you on all the latest and greatest in preventative immunizations before going abroad. Also, shop around, or at least know where you can get your vaccinations and how long a period is needed to administer them. One of the possible vaccines I will need (more on this after my travel clinic appointment in September!) will cost, if I were to get it right now, around $500 for the two shots which takes about a month to be administered.

That's my advice for the day. And I'm still floating up on cloud nine and reading through those thank you letters! In the meantime if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail! If I can't answer them, I will find someone who can in order to give you the best facts and advice I can!

Until next time!

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