SILS 3rd year
Made Ayu Sayaka
Being an international relations major at Waseda I was always interested on the prospect of working in an international cooperation. So when I saw that ICC was holding a talk session event with a JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) officer currently deployed in Iraq, I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to know more about working in an international agency from the JICA officer himself and was very excited to attend. The event was called “A Career Building Countries: Seeking to Build Bridges between Iraq and Japan”, and the speaker Mr. Tsunaki Ito talked about his experience working at the JICA Iraq office, how he became interested in working for JICA, and his advice for the current students.
He kicked the event off with a presentation of his work–what he actually does for JICA in Iraq. Using powerpoint slides, he also showed pictures and videos of the surroundings there. He also described his own daily life and hardships of living in Iraq. The visuals he showed was very interesting and helped us to image what it must have been like living there. My guess is that many people who are interested in working for JICA, including myself, do not really know what the work actually entails; the hardships and the huge responsibilities the officers have to bear with every day.
Mr. Ito’s presentation managed to give us an accurate image of it. He spoke not only of the tough living situation, but also the rewarding feeling of being able to contribute to Japan and Iraq relations– or what people usually call “やりがい” (yarigai) in Japanese, the rewarding feeling that keeps you going. I really liked how he was honest and gave us the authentic story of the job and did not fabricate the struggles of living there, yet at the same time slipping in how he manages to the positive parts too.
Then he moved on to more personal side of the story: his path to becoming a JICA officer. Getting into JICA is really difficult, thus it is considered a prestigious career to have in Japan. Yet he managed to stay humble in telling his story. One of his words that stuck with me was「だって好きなんだもん」which means “Just because I like it”. A lot of the times when we get faced the question of why we chose to do something, we are expected to explain in length. So, sometimes, it’s okay to say– I do it “just because” I like it– as simple as that. In other words, do what you like! Whether it is with career or education, make sure you do it out of passion and not just for the sake of prestige or other things.
He also had Q&A sessions, one for anonymous questions and the other one was held after the event ended. Sadly, I had other plans on that day so I did not get the chance to stay back.
However, it was a great event. Mr. Ito was a really good presenter and I definitely learned a lot, not just about JICA, but also about doing what you are passionate about.
I hope ICC will have more events like this one.