Youth exchange programs promote personal development
The TOMODACHI U.S.-Japan Youth Exchange Program is a two-way exchange program promoting cultural awareness and sensitivity among Japanese and American high school students by focusing on service learning and social entrepreneurship. The program participants brings together six Washington, D.C. public high school students with six Japanese high school students from Keio Shonan Fujisawa High School located in Kanagawa, Japan. A unique feature of this program is that it seeks to expose participants to civic engagement and social entrepreneurship through experiential learning, focused teamwork and deep cross-cultural immersion. The D.C. students were encouraged to consider the American and Japanese models for service and social entrepreneurship they learned about throughout the program and to think about possibly developing a project upon returning to the United States.
From July 15-31 and from July 31- August 16, 2015, fourteen students and two chaperones (six students from Washington D.C. Public Schools, six students from Keio Shonan Fujisawa High School, and two TOMODACHI alumni from the Tohoku region) will participate in a six-week education exchange program in Washington D.C., Tokyo and the Tohoku region. The focus of the program is to develop friendship and understanding through in-depth content with a cross-cultural perspective including exploration of the following themes: leadership, civic engagement, social entrepreneurship, and developing observational and analytical skills to prepare participants for the challenges of tomorrow. The overarching theme is Telling the Story, which will be informed by perspectives in each country about U.S. and Japan’s shared history, meeting engaged citizens addressing community challenges, and participants sharing their personal experiences along the way through active reflection, blogging and other avenues for sharing their experiences.
Fumiya Otani and Caitlin McDermott
This is the second year of the two-way exchange program between Washington, DC public high school students and students of Keio Shonan Fujisawa High School in the suburbs of Tokyo, Japan. Six students from DCPS or DC charter high schools were selected to participate in a five-week summer program in Washington, DC from July 19 – August 3, 2014. This program also includes a two-week cultural exchange with six visiting high school students from Japan.
The purpose of the exchange is to promote cultural dialogue and understanding between DC and Japanese teens; to provide exposure to social entrepreneurship and organizations promoting social change; and to enhance the students’ leadership skills and global awareness. This is part one of a two part exchange.