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Filtering by Tag: international education week

Faces of YFU: Meet Kevin Princic

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Faces of YFU: Meet Kevin Princic kevin 2

Kevin traveled to Japan in 2010 as a Japan-America Friendship Scholar. He has since volunteered as an alumni assistant at the Japanese Pre-Departure Orientation in 2012.

“Studying abroad really helped me come out of my shell in high school. I was always rather quiet and shy around people I did not know. While I am still an introvert my YFU exchange helped me become a much more outgoing person,” said Princic.

Kevin

The middle of three boys, Kevin was excited to apply his three years of Japanese language study. As part of the Shimomura family in Nishinomiya City, the experience was life-changing.

“I am still in contact with my host family. After completing my time in Japan, my host brother, Keitaro Shimomura, came to America and stayed with me for 10 months. Just last year I returned to Japan for college study abroad and I visited my host family again. It was like I never even left,” said Princic. “Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime experience, seize the opportunity if you can. You will learn so much and it will be an experience you will never forget.”

When Kevin applied for his exchange, he wrote “ am very enthusiastic about learning the Japanese culture and language. I will learn things that I would never learn in a classroom in the United States. I am also very excited about meeting new people and learning about their experiences.”

After having a few years to reflect back, Kevin mentioned, “my favorite memories from my exchange are the evenings I would spend with my host family just chatting or watching television. I truly felt like I was a member of the family. I also enjoyed helping my host mother with cooking or even going on random family excursions. I enjoyed family activities the most.”

Now a University of Mount Union student, Kevin’s high school aspirations have evolved. “My experience in Japan helped me decide that I wanted to pursue a degree in Japanese. After learning so much about the culture first-hand I realized that I would love to study the language, history and culture further. This decision also encouraged me to begin studying international affairs and even another foreign language, Mandarin Chinese,” said Princic.

As Kevin immerses himself in his senior year, he says, “I am still making plans for after graduation, but for now I intend to apply for a Fulbright. If accepted I would spend 10 months in Japan researching and attending language courses at a graduate school. My other options are pursuing a Master’s Degree in International Relations focusing on Asian Relations. Ultimately, I hope to end up in the State Department or maybe even Foreign Service.”

Interested in learning more about the Japan-America Friendship Scholars (JAFS) program? Visit our website for scholarship details and requirements. Applications for next year are being accepted through December 1, 2014!

Celebrating International Education Week

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IEW CollageA note from YFU USA President & CEO Michael HillDear Friends, I’m thrilled to be writing you as we enter the 15th annual International Education Week (IEW). Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Education, IEW provides an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.

Students who participate in exchanges increase their communication skills, grow in self-confidence, expand their foreign language proficiency, and foster greater tolerance and international awareness. Here at YFU, we continue to support people of all ages to take advantage of these life-changing opportunities that not only open minds and hearts, but also help to make us citizens of one world.

At YFU, we see these stories come to life every year. Take a look at YFU YES student Abasse from Senegal who celebrated IEW last year by sharing information about his home country with a class of 70 elementary students. Word is the students were so curious and full of questions that they had to limit them to one per student! He even came back and made a traditional African dish for a 2nd grade food and nutrition class.

Then, there’s Farjana from Bangladesh, who during her exchange not only made regular classroom presentations to share her culture but also taught her friends how to write their names in her native bangla and prepared traditional dishes for her host family.

Our US students are making impressions abroad, too. Dominique from Richland, WA, has been keeping friends and family back home up-to-date with blog posts about her adventures as a student in Ecuador. She even came up with a fun educational project to improve her own language skills by drawing various items, labeling them in Spanish, and then having her classmates label them in English; providing a joint learning opportunity.

These stories are just a few of the hundreds that exist, highlighting how curiosity about the world expands cultural awareness and acceptance of other ways to live, which in turn leads to broader perspective and greater understanding. Our students become teachers while on program, educating host parents, schools, and entire communities, modeling and explaining their indigenous cultures. It’s amazing to think about how these young people are shaping our world … and their own!

Happy International Education Week, and thank you for joining us in being catalysts for positive global change.

Celebrating Our Digital Diplomats

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IEWfbBanner2013A note from YFU USA President, Michael Hill

As we begin our celebration of International Education Week, I’m struck by how technology has influenced our core mission here at YFU. A couple of weeks ago, I was honored to participate in a panel sponsored by the Digital Diplomacy Coalition and the United Nations Foundation (recording available at: http://digidiplomats.com/socialgoodon the impact of the digital space and youth. 

Certainly digital media has shattered international borders in ways that make the work of those who engage in international education both exciting and challenging. While it has always been the case that students going on exchange represent their nations as diplomats in person, young people are harnessing technology and social media in creative ways, and in so doing, are becoming “digi diplomats.”

At YFU, we’ve seen some great examples this year already. Take a look at a YFU student from Mexico who decided that blogging was too boring and therefore created a video diary of his time in Denmark.

Better yet, YFU Germany student Alina is blogging for Spiegel, sharing in real time her experience of life in the United States as an exchange student.

These stories give us a peek inside the real struggles and triumphs of young people who have made the world their classroom. Through their words and images, we learn as much, if not more, about life in other nations as we could ever hope to learn in our traditional media coverage. It’s amazing to think about how these young people are shaping our world … and their own!

When our founder, Dr. Rachel Andresen, first created this program, students wrote letters home and reflected on their year in paper essays. In today’s exchange universe, students are sharing impressions of other cultures in real time. Their stories enrich us, their courage inspires us, their stories remind us how vital our mission remains to this day.

Happy International Education Week to all who care about this field, and to those young people on exchange: we can’t wait to share in the new stories you’ll create in the days and months to come.

YFU USA Celebrates International Education Week (IEW)

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YFU USA is gearing up to celebrate International Education Week November 12-16.  Recognized and promoted by the U.S Department of State, we at YFU hope that you can celebrate this special week with us by promoting YFU and your journey as a volunteer, a student, a host family or supporter of international exchange.

How can I get involved?

  • Make a classroom or community presentation about Exchange and your home/host country
  • Talk to 5 friends about what it is like to be an exchange student

Need more ideas? Visit www.iew.state.gov or email marketing@yfu.org

Youth For Understanding USA ©