Since 2012, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan (CCCJ) — along with NPO Ganbatte 365 — have organized an internship program and homestays in Tokyo for high school students from the Tohoku region. This year’s program ran from March 4 to March 9, with students joining from Takata Senior High School in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture.
For the first five years, we had between 11 and 14 students every year, but this is the first time we reached our target of 15 students. This was also the first year that we had more boys than girls on the program.
The Friday night event that closed the week was a highlight. In past years we have done a cruise of Tokyo Bay, enjoyed the great view from Roppongi Hills Club and had a special rakugo performance by the CCCJ’s Cultural Ambassador, Katsura Sunshine. This year, we enjoyed the home comforts of Canadian food at HyLife Pork — which also hosted an intern — and some great presentations from students.
We heard some heart-warming and entertaining stories from their week at work, while students, host families, and company representatives had a chance to discuss together the week’s experiences. We welcomed back a student who had participated last year, and a homestay host who also had previously participated. We even had one chamber member come along to find out more about participating as a host next year.
In 2019, we hope to begin organizing everything much earlier, and will be meeting in May or June this year to begin planning. This should give us more time to find the host families, allowing us to avoid having to make nail-biting last-minute approaches.
And if we can get the work-experience companies, homestay families and students figured out early, it would enable us to give them more information about each other before the program starts.
This is something the companies and homestay families often request.
We have Tohoku Youth Project-related meetings coming up, so please get involved to help us make it even better next year.