Volunteering at Kyoto University Hospital has been an enriching experience. Going into it, I believed I would interact a lot with the child patients much like how I have done while volunteering in hospitals in America. However, it appears to be different in Japan as the children usually have an escort nurse with them at all times to keep them company. We volunteers would take part in the playroom activity of the day more as a model rather than a playmate. That does not mean, though, that I was not able to interact with others. Most of my time has been spent in the Volunteer room where all the volunteers create arts and crafts projects to hand out to the patients and visitors. All in all there would be about seven or so people in the volunteer room, which is a somewhat small space, and time would be spent conversing. Being able to understand the others, I would find it easy to follow along in a conversation. The volunteers are very kind as they speak with me, helping correct me if I were to make a mistake.
The volunteers consist of mostly older women, and they are always up for conversation. They want to know as much about your own culture as you want to know about theirs, so there is always something to talk about. Considering that I volunteer in the fall, there are events and crafts that follow the themes of Halloween and Christmas. I asked about what is done to celebrate these holidays in Japan, and the volunteer women provided that they were not really sure how Halloween became popular in Japan. Apparently, its popularity started rising in Japan about 10 years ago. The same goes for Christmas. Those holidays are more of a casual occurrence than they are taken to be in America. There are even events held at the hospital for these holidays, though sadly I am not available to partake in either. Hopefully, others interested in volunteering are able to partake in more activities and learn even more from their experience.