The Kids of Akita
One of the things that I really appreciate about Akita is its people, especially its students. They are so cheerful and fun to be around! Having volunteered to speak and teach English to high school students, middle school students, and elementary students, my favorite bunch to teach would have to be the elementary students. They are always the most enthusiastic about learning new crazy words!
As an English conversation partner to these students, I can say that there are quite a few awkward moments when speaking to students. If anyone has had any experience, they would agree with me when I say that silence is the most awkward moment. .
Since I have yet to upload the pictures of the schools I have worked with, I am going to dedicate this post to these schools. One of the schools that visited Akita International University was Noshirokita High School, a school that seemed to only be comprised of girls. Speaking with boys is easy, but speaking with girls can be a little challenging, especially when they are 8 years younger than you. Things like music, shopping brands, and hobbies are the only things that come to my mind when talking to these girls. I figured that everybody would be asking them about these things, so I decided to ask them weird questions like "If you were an animal, what animal would you be? And why would you choose that?" or "Which monster would you rather become, a vampire or a duck?" It's usually fun to hear their answers.
Yuzawa High School was another school that came to visit Akita International University. My conversation with them was really fun! When I talked with the boys, I asked them great questions like, "Out of all the international girls here, which one do you think is the most beautiful?" Of course, only the boys were around to hear. It was a lot of fun, because I instantly bonded with them. The girls in that school were quite interesting. They were the first bunch of Japanese girls I had an anime conversation with. Now I know what kind of anime girls like to watch... the slice of life romance kind. Did I see it coming? Yup!
The next two schools that I'll be writing about were absolutely fun to be with! The first one I'd like to talk about is the Yotsugoya Elementary School. On that day, someone else was supposed to go to the school, but due to the sickness that was going around Akita International University, I had the opportunity to be a substitute! At first, it was awkward being that I wasn't the one they were expecting. I still remember the confused look on their faces. haha. As weird as it was, I had too much fun! I got to dance and sing the "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" song, play piano, and eat lunch with them. Every time we had to touch our ears, I would stretch them out and cross my eyes. Every time we touched our nose, I would push it up to make a pig face. The children loved it! As the song got faster and faster, I got more into it! In that moment, I became a kid again. The kids had so much fun that as I left, they screamed and chased me trying to pull me back into the classroom. It was an awesome goodbye!
The last one school I had the opportunity to be with was the Ugosakai English School. For this activity, I was in charge of creating games for the whole class to learn English and have fun! I played games like telephone, tarp flip over, and my favorite "Ninja." A great game where you're suppose to hit the person's hand next to you while dodging them at the same time. All I can say is that, not only the kids participated, but their parents as well. And to my surprise, some parents were quite agile and skillful at doing karate chops! It was so much fun, I hope to do it again!
The following are the new sections created in the scrapbook:
2/27/2014 08:28:24 am
Hi, I'm a college student considering studying abroad at AIU this fall and I was wondering how you went about volunteering to speak and teach English while you were there. Is it something you did mainly on your own or was it through the university? Thank you for your time.
2/27/2014 09:26:15 am
Hi Janae! AIU offers many programs to teach Elementary, Middle School, and High School students through their Community Outreach Services Department. Every month, they give international students many opportunities to volunteer themselves for these programs. There are other programs where you would go and teach at the school, some where you would talk with them at AIU, and others where they give you compensation. If you plan to go to AIU, I highly recommend that you sign up for the Happocho Program. Once a month, you get to stay over at a Japanese family's house over the weekend, and teach at several places across the Happocho prefecture. You get compensated very well too. For that program though, you will have to go through an interview process as it is a very sought after program. If you plan to go and look for other opportunities, the best way would be to just ride around from school to school in Akita, and ask the faculty if you could teach there once a week. The locals are very much interested in International Student volunteers from AIU, so I don't think you'll have any problem finding yourself an opportunity beyond school.
2/27/2014 09:42:01 am
Thank you so much for this information! I'll definitely look into the Happocho Program. Is it something you apply for after you start going to the university or before?
2/27/2014 10:34:12 am
You are very welcome Janae! It's a program you apply for after you enter AIU. During my interview, I was asked to read to the interviewer a child's book as if I were reading to children. Remember to stay enthusiastic and try and get the professor to participate in repeating easy words. High five him after they say it too. Do that and I will guarantee that you will get selected. =)
2/27/2014 12:21:21 pm
Again, thank you so much for your help -- I'll be sure to take your advice! I'm really glad I came across this blog.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.