Jose taking a selfie in front of a blossoming cherry tree.
Community story, A Spanish and English Teacher in Japan

A Spanish and English Teacher in Japan

Jose, Tokyo, Japan, volunteer

Originally from Spain, Jose now lives in Japan where he works as a Spanish and English teacher. Truly dedicated to teaching and helping others, Jose has also done volunteer teaching in other nearby countries, such as Thailand, and in other parts of Japan. However, due to logistics, Jose is not able to do this type of volunteer work very often, and he was looking for another way to make a difference for others. When he learned about Be My Eyes a few years ago, he figured that it would be the perfect volunteer opportunity for him. “I thought it would be a different way to help in the now”, Jose explains.

Besides being a perfect fit for his lifestyle, being a native Spanish speaker in Japan would allow him to help other Spanish speakers on the app on times of the day where other options of visual assistance might be limited. Combined with the fact that Be My Eyes is a great free resource for people in Latin America who might be limited in other resources, Jose has had many opportunities to be of service. “Be My Eyes can really be like a Swiss Army knife, useful for many different situations and different moments of the day”, he says.

Helping others is for me the most rewarding experience, and knowing that I have helped somebody in need every now and then can make my day.

Although Jose has assisted many different people on Be My Eyes over the last couple of years, his most memorable experience was getting to help someone with their thesis on several occasions. The first time Jose was connected with him, it was in the very early stages of the thesis process. Jose assisted the caller with finding some great information about how to structure his thesis, so that he had a good foundation for starting his writing process. The second time Jose was connected to the caller, he unfortunately didn’t have the time to dedicate himself to offer comprehensive assistance, so he had to advise the caller to connect with a different volunteer. However, Jose was lucky enough to get connected with the same caller a third time; being able to easily recognize his voice and accent and put himself into work mode. This time, the caller had made a lot of progress with his work, and was now looking for specific information about the topic at hand and sources to use. Again, Jose was able to assist in gathering the necessary information so that the caller could continue his writing process. “I haven't heard from him since, so probably he's in the first draft, or hopefully he has already finished the thesis”, Jose says.

During his time as a Be My Eyes volunteer, Jose has learned a lot about assisting blind and low-vision callers. “A common mistake I feel I've made in the past is trying to be too ahead of the person in need, and that brings more issues than solutions”, Jose explains. “I can see the problem, I can understand the solution, but it's the holding hands process that makes for a good call, a very useful call”.

For Jose, it’s a rewarding experience to be able to help someone in the moment, from the very small tasks like telling them the color of a sweater, to the complex tasks of assisting someone with their thesis. Jose uses every opportunity he has to tell others about Be My Eyes and encourage them to sign up. “I have the feeling many of my friends are a bit tired of me telling them to join Be My Eyes, but it's totally cool being a bit annoying for a good cause”, he laughs.