TOMODACHI Alumni Attend English Conversation Session at The American Center Japan in Tokyo
On June 13, 2014, the American Center Japan (ACJ) in Tokyo hosted an English kaiwa (conversation) session targeted at TOMODACHI program alumni. Ten TOMODACHI alumni gathered at the ACJ to practice their English conversation skills during a 60-minute session facilitated by Mr. Steven Dyokas, the Environmental and Scientific Affairs Officer at U.S. Embassy Tokyo. Mr. Dyokas and the students introduced themselves while sitting in a circle, and discussed their experiences while participating in their respective TOMODACHI programs. The roundtable format made it easier for the students to speak up and make eye contact with each other.
The alumni were participants of TOMODACHI programs while they were high school students living in Tohoku, and have since moved to the Tokyo area to attend university. The session was a novel experience for Chihiro Izumi from Iwaki, Fukushima, who is now a freshman at JTB Travel & Hotel College in Tokyo. She reflected, “It was the first time I had practiced my English in a discussion-style setting. I had never learned English like that in school, [where English is taught only in a classroom setting]. I prefer this roundtable style because it is more engaging and interactive.” ACJ plans to continue this program on a monthly basis, and may hold it more frequently in the future. The next session is scheduled for July 9.