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One of the things that appealed to me about Spring when I was job hunting eight months ago was the commitment to pro bono work.

Volunteering had been a big part of my life in Japan and I wanted to make sure I would be able to continue that in a company that shared my values.

Working in Japan was an incredible experience that reinforced the value of cultural exchange. As an agency with so many links to tourism (Morocco, Visit Suffolk and Visit Norwich to name just a few) we all get a lot of exposure to other worlds in our office, but there’s nothing like catching them young and getting them hooked on the travel bug – which is something the Japan Foundation knows a lot about.

In conjunction with the Japan Foundation’s Schools’ Taster Scheme I taught two lessons of Japanese at Tivetshall Primary School in Norfolk on Children’s Day. Driving through the countryside on the way from the office I couldn’t have felt more British, passing golden fields under blue skies. Being in Southwold we get to experience the best the coast has to offer but there’s a lot more out here in the east.

Tivetshall is a small country school with enthusiastic children and caring teachers. By the time I arrived in the afternoon they had already drawn cherry blossom pictures, made koinobori (koi carp wind socks) for Children’s Day and learnt to count to 10. Children can really put you to shame when it comes to learning new words – they picked everything up very quickly. Together we did our self-introductions in Japanese, made koinobori business cards – as exchanging business cards is an important custom in Japan – and talked about the meaning of Children’s Day.

Japanese is going on the curriculum at Tivetshall from September and going by the fun we all had together I know they’re going to work hard at their new subject. Thanks to Spring I got the chance to see a part of the country I hadn’t yet visited, spend time with some lovely people and speak Japanese again. It might sound trite, but it’s true: here at Spring CSR is about getting out in the community and giving back to the people around us.

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