IIBC Essay Contest ②

IIBC Essay Contest ②






Acceptance is the first step to improve myself

I felt a lot of cultural differences from Japan since I have lived in the UK. It contains good things and bad things. Among them, what I thought to be nice is that British is rich in volunteer spirit.

Various volunteer activities are conducted in Japan. However, in the UK, I think that volunteer activities are more frequent than in Japan. For example, I often happen to see recycle boxes for picking up the clothes that are no longer needed here and there. Also, in my town, there is a volunteer activity that collects the unneeded items for cancer patient. Various volunteer activities have been carried out in schools, communities and society.

What I especially like is that children can actively do volunteer. This means that people set their own goals and raise money as rewards for achieving goals. In fact, I participated in the fund-raising by running and achieving the tasks. I have taken part in the red feather campaign at school in Japan, but I could not make any money yet, so I did not feel like I had donated. The volunteer activities in Japan have a strong meaning to help people in vulnerable positions and there is a recognition that taking part in the volunteer activities is a great action. In contrast, I think that they can do something useful for people naturally and freely in the UK.

Not only volunteer activities, a spirit of helping each other is not special for British people.

‘Please have a seat’. ‘Can I help you with your luggage?’ You can hear these words frequently. In fact, when I had an injury in my leg, I was given up my seats and I have had a kind person carry my heavy suitcase. Also, I could not talk to someone to give up my seats due to embarrassment when I was in Japan. However, I became able to talk to give up my seats. Circumstance in Britain changed me.

Japanese still have a sense that the volunteer activities are unfamiliar. Japanese people have a wonderful heart ‘omotenashi’ that is Japanese hospitality. However, I think that a modest attitude of keeping down self-assertiveness is a virtue, so volunteer activities are embarrassing for Japanese people. In Japan, there tends to be a lot of peer pressure. Moreover, it is said that it is easy to feel resistance to something different from ourselves. In other words, if everyone does volunteer, I am considering that the spirit of volunteering is easily take root.

Through the spirit of volunteering in the UK, I learned the importance of trying to understand other people even when I encountered something different thoughts and behaviours. This will allow us to notice and understand the good points of other people. Though there are cultural differences such as living condition and religion, there is certainly something that we can seem wonderful. How could I not act despite that we know it is nice action? I started to think that it is not embarrassing to act, but it is embarrassing not to act. I would like not to be bound by any values and stereotype, make every effort to understand others and have the courage to act what I believe is right in my future. I think that acceptance is the first step to improve myself. [552 words]

(高等部1年生 女子)