On August 15th, five TOMODACHI high school students from Tohoku participating in theTOMODACHI Summer English Language Study Program in Maryland visited DC for a day of activities with the U.S.-Japan Council, TOMODACHI alumni and local student volunteers. They met U.S.-Japan Council President Irene Hirano Inouye, talking with her about their career aspirations and asking about the important qualities for leadership. Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Suzanne Basalla and Director for Development Georgette Furukawa-Martinez spoke about their experiences working in U.S.-Japan relations.
Following this was a roundtable discussion with Japanese who were working or studying in the United States. Discussants included TOMODACHI alumni and first-year student at American University Atsuko Arimoto, Diplomat Kotaro Shiojiri from the Embassy of Japan, Yuta Nagasaki, a rising senior at George Washington University, and Chihiro Kawana, a rising junior in the Dual Degree program with Ritsumeikan University and American University. The speakers spoke with students about their motivations for pursuing work or study in America and offered words of encouragement with respect to considering global educational and career pathways. The students expressed interest in working or studying abroad and were excited to hear about the different kinds of opportunities available.
After the morning meeting and roundtable, the students met up with TOMODACHI alumni and local student (high school and college) volunteers from around the DC-metro area for a potluck picnic and scavenger hunt on the National Mall. This potluck gave the students an opportunity to practice their English with volunteers their own age. And, from the exchanges of contact information, it was clear that many have forged new friendships!