“I never thought I would say that one of my very best friends is from Japan. Because of this program, not only can I say that, but also can maintain an ongoing relationship with my exchange student."
Before going to Japan, I didn’t realize the extant at which cultures could handle efficiency. Japan, and possibly some other countries, is the master of achieving efficiency and incorporating it into their culture. This can be seen in their small homes, small cars and perfect punctuality. Nozomi and I continue to contact each other and we both plan to visit each other again in the future, since she misses the states and I miss Japan. Probably the aspect that stands out the most is the endless variety of food that Japan has to offer. They have regional food, seasonal food and western food that differs from what we have back home. They also have holidays dedicated to food, such as eel day, which is now one of my favorite days of the year. I would urge a prospective student to keep a journal during their time there because THEY WILL FORGET. I know I have. And that’s why I have my journal to reference :). A
“I can’t think of a better way to experience my first trip out of the country! This experience changed my life and I can’t wait to go back”.
The Anjo exchange experience not only enriched the lives of my 4 daughters but had a significantly lasting impact upon our family as well. At first we thought the language barrier would be daunting but each time we learned that a simple smile and a hug is the universal language of friendship. My opportunity to be a chaperone was truly a highlight of my life. My chaperone counterpart and I continue to be great friends. I know that I easily speak for my entire family when I say that this experience enriched our lives on so many different levels.
I participated a long time ago yet my experience still benefits and affects me to this day. I still remember some of the Japanese I learned for the trip, and practice it, along with some of the social customs I learned and experienced, with various Japanese folks with whom I come into contact. It also fueled my love of Japanese cuisince, and greatly expanded my worldview. Perhaps most important, I learned that communication can be effective even without speaking the same language; something that has helped me throughout my life, including my career as an attorney. I am grateful for the experience.
I very much enjoyed having my counterpart chaperone stay at our home. I took her several places that I find interesting as well so it was always an enjoyable outing for both of us. My family found it educational and fun to spend some time with her as well.-- and vice versa. Our delegation was treated like “royal" tourists in Japan and we had many excursions together to enlighten us about life and culture in Japan—which was always very interesting and respectful. My chaperone friend (an elementary teacher and mother of 2 teens) and family took me to several additional events and venues that I had expressed an interest in viewing or experiencing such as riding our bikes around rice paddies and to small neighborhood temples, and visiting homes, and factories. I feel fortunate to have had this extraordinary experience and have acquired an ongoing interest in Japan and its culture.