Volunteer activities also involve pre-activity goal-setting and post-activity reflection for development as the important process. Students are able to build their independence by defining a clear sense of purpose of their activities before departure. The word “volunteer” is often attached to an idea of “service” or “self-sacrifice”, but the most important aspect of volunteer work is “independence and self-motivation.” (Reference:Volunteer Center HP “Philosphy and History”)
In the process of defining a clear sense of purpose, students investigate the situation of the community, hold discussions between each other, and invite professionals to give intensive courses and psychological support workshops. Gathering information and visualizing before departing, then developing the skills to perceive the difference between reality and that image will help expand the student’s knowledge and adaptability to the community.
Reflection takes place post-activity, basically during the term of the volunteer activities, leading to an improvement in the following activities. This is called turning the so-called “PDCA cycle.” Student performance abilities improve in the cycle of setting goals and a plan, putting it to practice, repeating the action and linking it to the next course of action. Also, after the long summer vacation, the Volunteer Center hosts a Reflection Workshop by getting together students who took part in volunteer activities. Rather than reflecting on failures, the point of focus is placed on taking an overhead view of the activities. Volunteer activities consist of the relationship between the NPOs and citizen groups accepting the student volunteers, regions and communities in addition to the relationship between oneself and the other person (supporter). By thinking of what influence (benefit) your activities will have on the various groups involved, and what social issues to link the issues at hand to, your own position in society can be defined. Students also think about how they can utilize their skills in society, and what kind of society they desire as a member of that society. This would ideally be made clear during their time at university and before heading out into society. The coordinators plan these programs and give support to the students while ascertaining their situations.