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Jen [59期生(2018年春)] [フィリピン]

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Being of use to others and pursuing my life’s purpose—
Lessons from my IATSS Forum Experience
By: JEN LIBUTAQUE

It’s been a month since the end of the 59th Forum. I initially felt “home sick” after coming back, which was a bit odd. I think I felt this way because the IATSS staff and volunteers, as well as my fellow participants made Suzuka my second home. Time flies so swiftly during the IATSS Forum Program and yet looking back at our photos, I can see that so much has taken place! Surely, you lose your sense of time when you’re with the best company, having the time of your life.

Truth be told, the concept of “Thinking and Learning Together”, which is the motto of the IATSS Forum Program, was not quite clear to me in the beginning. At the end of the program, it finally made sense. All of the participants went through the same lectures and activities, and yet, each one of us learned something a little bit different than the rest. It is not uncommon for the same lecture/activity to impact each of the participants in a different way, depending on our background, culture and experiences. I appreciate that the program is based on experiential learning that’s why we do not feel that we are limited in generating a desired outcome. I have learned that ultimately, we are the ones responsible for our own learning and the activities—carefully curated by the IATSS staff, and guided by learned professors and speakers—will only be as effective and valuable to our personal growth as we allow them to be. This kind of learning experience gave me enough freedom to appreciate the lecture/activity on my own while at the same time, has challenged me to ponder on the learning and deepen my understanding, through questions/exercises at the end of each lecture or activity.

During the program, I was given the opportunity to look into myself, see myself clearly and draw up visions to make myself of use to others. Before joining the program, I was pretty confident that I am making the most out of my opportunities, talents and skills. However, I realized during the course of the program that I can still do more in terms of maximizing my skills and ultimately, being of service to others. I have been inspired by the staff members, volunteers, speakers and fellow participants to reach for goals that will benefit more people. I am grateful to my new friends in Japan for sharing their amazing culture, lessons and practices. Likewise, I am happy to have found brothers and sisters in different parts of Asia, who have shared this learning journey with me, while shaping my own. We have shared so many moments that made, “Ichi-go, Ichi-e” so applicable.

Truly, the real challenge starts after the program is over. Everyday, I do my best to keep the spirit that was awakened during the program, alive and burning in order to steer me to the right direction leading to a life of purpose and of use to others.