Applying Knowledge and Experience from
IATSS Forum & Paying Forward to Community

Participant's Voices


  • Country : The Philippines
  • Forum : 54th batch (2015 Autumn Forum)
As the 54TH forum draws closer, I cannot help but feel overwhelmed and excited about the whole new experience. I know for sure that this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is a blessing with a purpose. To the IATSS forum organizers, Maraming Salamat (Thank you very much)! I am most excited about taking on the challenges and opportunities for growth that the IATSS forum will be offering me. Through this experience, I wish to understand about other nations culture, struggle, values and leadership styles. I hope to learn how Japan and the rest of the Asian nations were adapting to modern times and technological advancements without forgetting about their roots, their people, their values, culture and heritage. I also want to share about the Filipino story –a unique and beautiful tale that is worth sharing. I can’t wait to meet everyone –from the IATSS forum family, to my fellow participants, and all the wonderful people who will be imparting to us valuable lessons and will be creating with us precious moments.
Before coming to Japan, thoughts of spending more than a month away from home, going to a another country and spending time with unfamiliar set of people brought me excitement and at the same time doubts and fears. Despite all the orientations and stories I heard from IATSS alumni and those written on the IATSS promotional materials, I felt clueless and unprepared. However, as days passed by, I started to adjust to the new environment and to the new experiences and people that I get to see everyday. I started to understand the purpose of the big and small tasks given by the IATSS staff. I learned to appreciate the learning process and enjoy the variety of activities, even though most of them are new to me. The key is just to go with flow, accept the challenge and allow yourself to be surprised. During the forum, I realized that some surprises are meant to come our way so that our characters are shaped and our limits are tested. The IATSS forum taught me to appreciate and respect diversity and work together towards cultural exchange and self-growth. The forum can also be a place to exercise your ability to disagree and say no to people and to make constructive criticisms. This doesn’t necessarily mean arguments or discourse, but rather growth and maturity. Thankfully, the IATSS staff and my batchmates have inspired me to be honest, sincere and transparent. The IATSS forum has truly been a great experience that did not only teach me about leadership, teamwork and sustainable community design but also helped me discover more about ASEAN and Japan, different people and most especially myself. This program is a once-in-a-lifetime chance so enjoy every moment, savor the culture, and be your best self.