Every January, some of our international students join the APA Winter Camp and it was no different this winter. Students from China, Japan, Spain, Turkey and many other parts of the world joined Czech students and their teachers in the Jeseníky Mountains to learn how to teach skiing to people with various disabilities. A Japanese student from Tokyo, Koichi Paku, was among them and we asked him to share his experience with us.
Why did you decide to register the APA winter camp course?
Actually, I did not know any details about the APA camp before we went there but my classmate and our international coordinator suggested that by participating in this camp, I could get good experience in the APA field and some precious memories.
Were your expectations different from the reality?
Yes, totally different indeed. I thought that at this camp, we would learn skiing and the theory of how to teach it to the people with a disability; I was surprised to find out we would actually work with real disabled people and kids.
Did you interact with Czech students too?
I really enjoyed the interaction. We often cooperated with each other, because some of the kids didn’t understand English and needed Czech students to translate everything to them.
Can you describe your most memorable experience?
Day 6 was very special for me. It was when I met a boy with visual impairment. When the group leader told me that I would teach him, I felt very anxious and nervous – how could I teach such a kid? I have never taught anyone before how to ski and now I should teach a person with a disability and in English?
These were my thoughts the night before the class… But when I met him, he gave me confidence as he was trying to practice skiing tirelessly again and again. I was so moved by him at that moment and I understood that it does not matter if you have a disability or not, everyone can take on a challenge to do something great.
What did you consider the biggest challenge?
Probably cooperating with lots of students and teaching staff. And as a result, we created a great programme and a happy smile on the face of each kid.
Would you recommend the winter camp to future students? Why?
I can’t speak Czech or Polish and even my English is not good enough. But I have made it at this camp; I have gained a great deal of confidence and the camp as well as the people I met there have taught me that the most important thing is my attitude to other people. It was an unforgettable experience. Of course, I would recommend the winter camp to other students, because it gives you plenty of knowledge and experience, more than you would expect. It is also very motivating.