Presently, Friends Abroad and schools in mainland Japan are working together to promote a program called "Culture Teaching in Okinawa". This is a 4 to 7 hours program in which Japanese students are given the opportunity to learn about American culture. This program provides the Japanese student with chances to practice his/her English language communication skills with very safe and convenient because its not foreign country, but Okinawa in domestic for them.
The main activities of a school trip from mainland Japan to Okinawa are marine sports and peace education such as the "Battle of Okinawa". These are very ince activites for having the Okinawa Experience, but we would like to suggest students to experrience Okinawa from another veiwpoint by exchanging with the foreigner families who live in Okinawa. This experience can foster an international view in the students. And it must become their special experience, could change their future, and also to American families too.
We accept from 1 to 300 people a day placing 3~4 students with 1 family.
Benefits of the Cultural Teaching Exchange Programs■for foreigners
1) Desire a good relationship with the Japanese.
2) Foreign personnel are away from home, family and friends are often time bored. These youngesters can be adopted by the local community, to let them feel "Family Away From Home" and in result these ideals become the same ones; the foreigners tries to achieve.
3) Foreigners and their families can teach their culture in a non-traditional way to strengthen the ties of friendship.
1) Japanese and their children/students feel safe when they are with certified U.S. military, non-military, non-military personnel and their families on Okinawa.
2) On-base or Off-base is a good setting for learning English and American Culture.
3) Can experience foreign lifestyle in their own country.
Since its start, Friends Abroad is promoting cultural exchange in hand with US armed Forces; US marine Corps, US Air Force, US Military and non-Military and their families. A letter from US marine Corps date June 6, 1980, February 7, 1983 is provided here for reference and prove of a close relation.(Annex Ⅰ & Ⅱ)
While launching cultural programs, Friends Abroad always strictly follows and adopt its internal policies as well as US Armed Forces Privacy Act 1974, SOFA, MCJB CINSOP, USFJ Policy, MCOI, AFI, Housing Management, etc. to abide by any violation and ensure if these programs do not effects US Armed Forces spirit and letter of applicable US and Japan laws. Therefore, Friends Abroad always advise the American participants of the programs to fulfill the legal requirements at their end before they take part in cultural activities; to avoid any misunderstanding may occur during the program. Some letters dated March 28, 1994, September 22, 1995 and April 11, 1996. are provided here for reference.(Annex Ⅲ, Ⅳ & Ⅴ)
Besides, all the efforts Friends Abroad makes to not to let anyone make claim, sometimes some people try to copy Friends Abroads’ programs for money making purposes, which is beyond Friends Abroad’s control. Such incidents not only damage the reputation of Friends Abroad but also affect the relationship of US and Japan and its people.
To block such incidents, Friends Abroad has set a board of local business leaders to help monitor the impact of our programs. This usually helps us identify negative trends and prevent cases of bad publicity or misinformation about our company and programs. Friends Abroad’s special board is open for any opinion or ideas in this regard to prevent form negative impression for both sides America and Japan.
Friends Abroad firmly believes that, through its programs the foreigners on Okinawa will have a much more positive experience during their stay in Okinawa and, when they return to the United States, their time spent in Okinawa will be a valuable asset to them and the same can be said for the Japanese families, their children and students participated in the programs. In result, this will go long way in building bridges of friendship and cultural understanding in ways that we may never imagine possible.
How many student is an American family expected to take at a time?
▶3 ~ 4 students.
How many times do the Japanese students visit to us?
▶Almost once a month. A lot of one-day program.
What are the students' age?
▶Mostly between 14 to 17 years old.
What part of Japan do they come from?
▶They come from all over Japan.
What is their purpose?
▶They want to experience foreign country lifestyle, to learn about foreign culture and practice English.
What is American family expect to do?
▶A family is expected to be a teacher of foreign culture and practice English language and have fun!
▶You will be with Japanese students sometime between 9 am and 4 pm.
What is the most important thing in this program?
▶To try to talk to the students and communicate with them.
Do the students speak English?
▶In Japan we start to study English at school when we become 8 years old as you study Spanish and French in U.S.A.
What are we supposed to do when a student get sick?
▶Please call F.A. buys insurance for all of the students.
How are the students?
▶All of the students have a lot of motivation and interested in foreign people and anxious to learn about you.
After we sign up for the program, when will we know for sure we are going to take students?
▶We will let you know, at least 10 days before the program starts. If we fail to call you, please call us to make sure.
Remember that this will be their first experience for almost all the students to be with foreign people.
A week before the program starts, we give you a package of the program. Please be sure to come and pick it up. Also, after sign up for any program and if you have to cancel it, please let us know as soon as possible you can. It will help us it you find a lot of alternative family for the students.
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