About Us Activity Publications Inquiries & Access


Report on the Inter-University Event “Online Learning about International Cooperation Volunteers”


On December 11, 2021, we held an inter-university event entitled “Online Learning about International Cooperation Volunteers” for Ochanomizu and Nara Women’s University students with the aim of considering the role of international cooperation volunteers and grassroots international cooperation. This event had always comprised visits to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Nihonmatsu Training Center. This time, however, the JICA Komagane Training Center helped us to hold in online.

First, we heard about JICA’s volunteer programs from Mr. Yōsui Ochi, who taught baseball in Costa Rica as a Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer (JOCV). Mr. Ochi talked about the position of JOCV dispatches within JICA’s work, providing examples of JOCV activities. He also explained the pre-dispatch training conducted at the JICA Komagane Training Center. Throwing in quizzes along the way, Mr. Ochi’s explanations were very easy to follow, enabling us to deepen our knowledge. We also received some tips on how to choose what type of volunteer work we might want to do if we applied, drawing on Mr. Ochi’s own experience. One particularly memorable thing that he said was that all our experience to date, including what we learned at university, would serve us.

JOCV volunteer talkes about her experience

Next, Ms. Mika Mizuno,  who was a JOCV volunteer sent to Colombia to teach leatherworking, set out to give us the ‘virtual experience’ of being a JOCV. She talked about her own experience, particularly worries and mental conflicts that arose when she was working out in the field, which gave us time to consider together how to change our thinking and behavior in situations where something that we regard as obvious isn’t obvious to the other person, as well as how to approach communication, intercultural understanding, and understanding others. Many of us empathized with the way in which Ms. Mizuno had used her ingenuity to widen her circle of friends and colleagues.

Roundtable discussion

In the second half of the event, we interviewed three JOCVs who were either about to be dispatched abroad or undergoing training for special dispatch missions. They explained why they had applied to become JOCVs and what preparations they had undertaken to make their applications successful. We were then divided into two groups for two roundtabel discussions on either women’s careers or further exploration of the interview content. These sessions were also joined by Mr. Ochi and Ms. Mizuno from the first half of the event, with a lively Q&A session ensuing on the accommodation and food in dispatch locations, JICA’s backup system, memorable moments in pre-dispatch training, the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, and career-building back in Japan.

The event gave us a glimpse into JOCV mechanisms and activities as one form of international cooperation volunteering, enabling us to develop a more concrete image of grassroots international cooperation. While fully recognizing the merits of holding the event online, several participants also said that they would still like to actually visit the training center. The Global Collaboration Center will continue to find ways to create opportunities like these.

  • このエントリーをはてなブックマークに追加