Members of the IFT Volunteer Circle attended the 6th National Research Exchange Forum for Volunteer Students and Supporters, held in Tokyo from 2 March to 4 March. They were invited by the National Institution for Youth Education of Japan, for the third successive year.
The latest Forum brought together 901 students and supporters from 171 institutions of higher education.
The IFT Volunteer Circle delegation comprised the only foreign volunteers in tertiary education to be invited. The group consisted of 12 members of the IFT Volunteer Circle and 4 students of the University of Macau, and was sponsored in part by Macao’s Tertiary Education Services Office (GAES).
The Forum was opened by the Director of the National Institution for Youth Education who acknowledged the participation of the IFT Volunteer Circle. The Forum was also addressed by the Minister of Education of Japan. Selected students then related accounts of their outstanding volunteer experiences at home and abroad.
On the second day, 12 workshops on various aspects of contributing to society and student empowerment were held. Members of the IFT team took part in the workshops on International Affairs, on Environmental Issues and on the Olympic Games to be held in Toyko in 2020.
IFT students that attended relate that the Forum improved their understanding of student voluntary work in places other than Macao. “Many people in Japan take part in many types of voluntary work,” says one. “It inspired me a lot to help others.”
Another student related the Forum was worthwhile because it made those attending realise they can contribute to promoting change in the world by doing voluntary work either at home or abroad. “I also really enjoyed the cultural exchange with others,” another student added.
The Forum broadened the view of the world held by the IFT students. It allowed them to engage in exchanges with representatives of universities and voluntary groups in Japan. It tied together young people in East Asia with bonds of friendship and mutual understanding, and it inspired those attending to think more deeply about what they can do for society.
The IFT Volunteer Circle is a student group dedicated to the betterment of the wider community, particularly Macao’s younger population. Students formed the group in September 2013 with the help of IFT Lecturer Mr. Stephen Sayers.
By IFT student Kris Sun and IFT Lecturer Stephen Sayers