Japan: Finding a path to confidence

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In year 12 I felt stressed about needing to make decisions about my path after high school. I didn’t know what I wanted to study yet, as it felt like choosing would lock me into a career.

Thankfully, I found out about Lattitude and had the opportunity to give something back and gain the experience of a lifetime.

I was placed in Japan, where I worked in a community center, mostly taking care of children. I was quickly accepted into the friendly and close community there, in which I was able to participate in some great cultural events like the Boondori and other festivals. One of the greatest things I gained from this experience was better independence. Being placed in a different culture and having to figure things out for myself allowed me to truly ‘grow up’. I’m now a much more confident adult, ready to face the challenges, such as university and living independently.

The relationships I formed during my time at placement will last a lifetime. I think it is incredibly important for all people to become immersed in another culture, in order to give a better understanding and perspective of the world. I’m still in touch with many people I had the pleasure to meet, with relationships that have given way to even more opportunity during many return trips to Japan.

After my time on placement, I felt I had a better understanding of myself as a person, and the direction in which I wanted to go. I’m currently studying international business, and my Japanese language and cultural understanding are very advantageous. Volunteering overseas was more rewarding than I expected, and the experience taught me about myself and my direction in life.