Yuka Sadayuki grew up in Los Angeles, California and Tokyo, Japan and currently attends George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She became a TOMODACHI intern at the Tokyo office for 3 months during the summer of 2016 and focused on supporting the communications team. Inspired by the various TOMODACHI programs and the participants she met during the internship, she applied for and was accepted to participate in the TOMODACHI Daiwa House Student Conference III that took place in Washington, D.C. in the fall of 2016.
As a TOMODACHI intern supporting staff who then became a participant, Ms. Sadayuki was able to experience TOMODACHI from both perspectives.
She shared both her experiences below:
Q: What made you inclined to join the TOMODACHI Initiative team as an intern?
A: It was an accumulation of both external and internal influences. Ambassador Roos’ visit to my high school was a huge agent in my decision to be a TOMODACHI intern. In the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, Ambassador Roos’ encouragement and passion to better conditions shone a positive light to the student body that was still in tremendous shock and disbelief. Looking back, he harnessed my desire of service to the community; whether it is for relief efforts or in my own surroundings. Internally, the TOMODACHI Initiative has relieved my struggle of identity of being a Japanese person fully integrated in American culture. I believed that this organization, which celebrates both nations simultaneously, would allow me to freely express who I am.
Q: What valuable lessons and skills did you learn as a TOMODACHI intern?
A: The importance of trust and passion. Successful organizations, large or small, private or public, parallel in the dynamic of people-to-people connections. From being in the TOMODACHI Initiative office to attending events with generous donor companies, the trust and transparency amongst the individuals really stuck out to me. Each maintained the boundaries of specialization, which is unachievable without immense reliability. In addition, the TOMODACHI Initiative team had extremely admirable passion for the work that they do. Although each member worked on different tasks and served various purposes, an underlying bond was apparent which, I realized, leads to unity and progress towards the same objective—bettering U.S.-Japan relations. Hence, nothing can be accomplished without the passion to do it.
Q: Why did you apply for the TOMODACHI Daiwa House Student Leadership Conference?
A: Essentially, I wanted to see both sides of the story; as an intern I had the opportunity to see the administrative side of the organization, so I wanted to personally partake in the conversation I had amongst peers my age. I also had the desire to continue my participation as a member of the TOMODACHI Generation.
Q: As a TOMODACHI intern who then became a participant of the TOMODACHI Daiwa House Student Leadership Conference, do you think you experienced the program differently from other participants?
A: Yes and no. In terms of administrative elements, I believe that I understood a little more about why the TOMODACHI Initiative does what they do and what U.S.-Japan relations and these types of programs mean to them. However, I was undoubtedly on the same boat as the other participants in terms of the content of this program. This conference has exposed me to U.S.-Japan relations activity in the D.C. area and the key actors that play into the betterment of the alliance. I have attained valuable lessons and knowledge through this program, which was a blessing to partake in.
A: My goal is to work at an institution heavily involved in the global arena and to eventually attend law school. I believe that the TOMODACHI Initiative has been a cherishing experience that has trained me to have a more multifaceted and appreciative attitude towards others and at the same time, has boosted my passion for international relations and the U.S.-Japan alliance.