CTN was lucky to have a great intern from Japan for two months. Ryohei Takayama helped us with outreach research and was a computer lab monitor in our computer lab at Rosa Parks Senior Center.
Ryohei writes about his experience:
Before my internship, I thought that it is great volunteer work to teach something about computers to seniors because I believe sharing information is the exact principle of the Internet. Since I major in computer science, I had expected that it would be easy for me before becoming a tutor. The actual experience, however, gave me a new understanding about it and why it is important not only for seniors but also for me and how difficult it is to teach and see things from the seniors’ points of view. I had never known how their appreciation and smiles would make me happy and incentivize me to improve my tutoring. Sometimes their questions were little bit difficult even for me to solve if they were hardware problems or relatively specific questions. It made me realize seniors are very diverse in terms of computer skills, and facing each one is a very different challenge.
Ryohei made such a great impact on the seniors who used the labs that one even gave him a gift when he left to return to Japan: an Asian pear and a note that reads (roughly), “You are the first man to teach me about computers, and I will never forget you. Thank you very much.”