When I first heard about the CIP project, I was at a complete loss as to what I would do. However, after some deliberation I decided that I would be an assistant English teacher. Back in the US I had been an art camp counselor since I was 14, so I figured that dealing with children would be basically the same regardless of what country I was in. Despite my initial confidence, my CIP proved to be one of the most challenging experiences of my life to date.
My CIP had its ups and downs, but I can definitely take away some life experience from it. I learned how to politely quit an organization (definitely an important skill), as well as how to handle situations in which you do not feel comfortable. In the US, politely quitting is not a common concept, as people tend to quit due to their job mistreating them or being less than desirable. However, in Japan this concept is well-known, and it seems that many people use it to leave their jobs. After realizing that my CIP was not what I had expected, I called my boss and thanked her for the volunteering opportunity and wished her the best. This conversation was pretty awkward, but in the end I think I accomplished my goal, to leave on a positive note.
Before I came to Japan I never had to deal with a situation like mine at Angelnet. I am less naïve now about volunteering, as it is not always an enjoyable experience, and I know that it can become very stressful and exhausting. Since I’ve also never had to deal with problematic children before, I’m glad that I now have the experience under my belt of how to handle them. In the future, I am definitely going to continue being a camp counselor in the US and I’m not going to let my CIP affect my love for volunteering.