Jetting to Japan with the Virtual U.S. Educators Program, Overview

JCCI successfully held this year’s U.S. Educators Program, a bi-weekly virtual series beginning on Tuesday, July 6th comprised of 4 sessions where educators can experience Japan right from their living room.

By participating in the 2021 virtual program, educators have an opportunity to apply for our 2-week excursion to Japan the following year to see it all first-hand.

In the first session, students and teachers from Ayabe Middle School spent their time interacting with 48 participating educators both in English and Japanese. From finding the balance between school and extra-curricular activities, what they would worry the most when they were given the opportunity to study in the U.S., to discussing the purpose and motivation of educating Japanese students who only stay for a limited amount of time in their schools, educators had the chance to ask them questions about academic life in Japan.

During the second session, educators were given a virtual homestay experience with a family in Ayabe city, and had the opportunity to ask questions about family life in Japan. They also learned about shopping in Japanese supermarkets and local produce markets, and were introduced to a variety of foods and amenities.

In the third session, students and faculty members from Komaba Gakuen High School in Tokyo discussed and presented their Japanese school life in English, from commuting, lunch, after school activities, and the homeroom class system.

In the final wrap-up, three alumni members of the program, Daniella Phillips, Pema Nodong, and John Harrison shared their experiences from their respective trips.

The goals of the program since its inception in 1989 have been twofold: to improve and encourage communication between Japanese students and American educators, and to demonstrate gratitude to the many educators who strive to ensure that expatriate students acculturate and thrive in their American surroundings.

Each summer, the program invites educators from New York metropolitan tri-state area schools that have a significant enrollment of Japanese students for a 2-week visit to Japan. Program participants meet with their Japanese counterparts and gain first-hand exposure to Japan’s education system and culture by visiting several high schools, major cities from Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Kyoto, and a homestay experience. Since 1989, we’ve sent over 500 teachers and educational administrators.

While the program was cancelled last year due to the covid pandemic, we are pleased to continue the program and provide educators with an unforgettable virtual experience in Japan this year by broadening our reach to educators around the tri-state.

We greatly appreciate all the organizations involved in this year’s special virtual program, and are very much looking forward to an on-site trip next year.

Click here to see our program featured in the Ayabe City Newspaper (Ayabe Shimin Shimbun) (Japanese)

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