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Open Seminar: Becoming an International Volunteer


(Mr. Shinji Nagase)

On June 29 (Saturday), 2013, the Global Collaboration Center hosted an open seminar on overseas volunteer opportunities, led by Shinji Nagase, Liaison Specialist of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) Tokyo Office, and Emi Ikenoue, Deputy Director of the Recruitment Division, the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) Secretariat (Japan International Cooperation Agency).

Mr. Nagase’s talk and video presentation explained how UN volunteers provide assistance in the field while interacting with local residents, and gave us a good feel for their lives overseas.

According to Mr. Nagase, there are relatively few Japanese working overseas as UN volunteers. We learned that applicants must be at least 25 years of age, and that recruiters place great emphasis on professional experience. Such a high bar to application made the program seem a little daunting for us students, but it impressed on us the high level of competence and performance expected from UN volunteers.

We also learned that preparations are under way for the launch of a UN Youth Volunteer program, and that UNV Online Volunteering connects volunteers with opportunities to contribute translation, telementoring, and other services over the Internet. With the fact that UNV actively publicizing its activities on Facebook, I felt more and more familiar with the organization.

(Ms. Emi Ikenoue)

Ms. Ikenoue spoke to us about the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers. With a minimum age of 20 for Japanese nationals, this program offers an opportunity available now to many students to participate in overseas volunteering. The lecture covered the process leading up to enrollment in the program, what happens next, and the kinds of career paths and job opportunities awaiting volunteers after their return. We got the sense that volunteers were able to put their overseas experience to good use as they continued through life.

Some students said that they were interested in volunteering but were unsure whether there were opportunities for them, since their field of study had little relevance to international cooperation. Both of the speakers told students that even if their area of expertise was not apparent yet, they would find their niche as long as they stayed committed and motivated. For those of us with an interest in international cooperation, the event offered a rare opportunity to gain a clearer picture of the UNV and the JOCV, learn about their differences, and realize how much we want to be part of the action!

(Yuko NAGAYA, second-year master’s student, Human Developmental Sciences)

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