Our 4th year of the TOMODACHI U.S.-Japan Youth Exchange Program brought more change and improvements.
1. This year, thanks to increased funding, we have eighteen (18) student participants (up from 12 in the first year). This includes nine (9) students from DCPS or DC charter high schools and nine (9) students from Japan – five (5) from our partner school, Keio Shonan Fujisawa (SFC) High School, and four (4) TOMODACHI alumni from various schools in Tohoku. This new composition adds even more diversity to our group – and enriches the group’s experience and learning.
2. In 2016 we have returned to our initial sequence of starting in DC and ending in Japan. We think this makes the most sense in terms of our program design. This year for the first time we were able to start the program with a 3-night residential stay for all 18 students plus chaperones in a dormitory on the campus of George Washington University. This innovation, which allowed students to be together 24/7 for three days, created a much stronger start, and immediate bonding between the students. A huge success!
3. Also, this year, we are piloting a new relationship with the Hospitality Academies of DC Public Schools. Two of our students – Kamashae Tolliver of Columbia Heights Education Campus and Michael Williams of Ballou SHS – attend hospitality academies, which were created to introduce and prepare high school students for careers in the hospitality industry. We believe that the hospitality culture of Japan will be a great subject for study by these students, and they have been charged with sharing their experiences with their fellow students during the 2016-17 school year.
For further information about the 2016 TOMODACHI U.S.-Japan Youth Exchange Program, go to:
2016 DC Program – for the DC itinerary and program
2016 Japan Program – for the Japan itinerary and program