The TOMODACHI MUFG International Exchange Program is a three-year exchange program for Japanese students who were affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake with high school students in Southern California. The program aims to strengthen the ties between U.S. and Japan students through cultural exchange activities and homestays.
Programs are administered by EIL Japan, a non-profit educational exchange organization in Japan that provides cultural exchange experiences through homestays for students around the world.
5th TOMODACHI MUFG International Exchange Program 2016
Twenty high school students from the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake (Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures) were selected to participate on the 5th TOMODACHI MUFG International Exchange Program. This program sent these students to Los Angeles, California and its suburbs to participate in a two-week program from July 23 to August 6, 2016.
During the program, the students will have an opportunity to deepen their mutual understanding of the United States and Japan which may lead to an interest in studying abroad, working overseas, or be involved with international exchanges in the future. The program features extensive contact with Americans through academic programs, homestays, social and sightseeing activities, and exposure to American culture and values. Launched in 2012, this is the 5th year of this exchange program in which high school students have been sent to the United States and Japan alternately.
4th TOMODACHI MUFG International Exchange Program 2015
From June 27 to July 12, twenty select high school students from Southern California visited Japan through the TOMODACHI MUFG International Exchange Program. Through this program, the students were able to participate in various cultural exchange activities and homestays. During their two weeks in Japan, the students traveled to Tokyo, Sendai, Kesennuma, Hiroshima, and Kyoto. Read More>>
- For photos from the program, click here
3rd TOMODACHI MUFG International Exchange Program 2014
Twenty six students from the disaster affected areas of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures were selected to participate in a two-week program in California from July 24 to August 7, 2014. During the program, the students had an opportunity to study English, learn leadership skills, and volunteer for community service projects. The program features extensive contact with Americans through academic programs, homestays, social and sightseeing activities, and exposure to American culture and values.
The students first took part in a study tour, in which they visited the Tanaka Farm and the Consulate of Japan. At Tanaka Farm, they met Mr. Tanaka, who is a 3rd generation Japanese American, and were touched by Mr. Tanaka’s warm thoughts towards restoration of disaster affected areas. During the second half of the program, the students stayed with a total of 21 welcoming host families.
Participants had the opportunity to visit many institutions and companies, such as Japanese American National Museum, Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library, MUFG Union Bank, Yakult Co., and KTLA. This extraordinary experience provoked the students to have new future goals; there were students who decided they want to study in the United States after hearing a speech from Professor Tritia Toyota and many students said they want to invite their host family to Japan to pay the back for their warm hospitality. More>>
- For more photos, click here
2nd TOMODACHI MUFG International Exchange Program 2013
This program sent 26 high school students residing in Los Angeles County, Orange County, and San Diego County to Japan for a two-week people-to-people exchange and learning program. During the two weeks, American students experienced Japanese culture and learned about disaster prevention, crisis management and leadership, while experiencing a homestay with a family in the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, interacting with Japanese high school students, and engaging in volunteer activities in the region.
- For more information on the program, click here
“I’ve fallen in love with Japan’s beautiful sights, people, food, and customs– all in which are intertwined through a teaching of significant history and values. And my heart is heavy from missing Japan, but I know it won’t be long until I return to the place where I now call my second home.” Read more>>
– Rachel Tang, participant of the TOMODACHI MUFG 2013 International Exchange Program
- For more photos, click here
1st TOMODACHI MUFG International Exchange Program 2012
In the summer of 2012, the TOMODACHI Initiative and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) supported 20 Japanese junior and high school students who are from UNESCO Associated Schools and are MUFG-UNESCO Association Great East Japan Earthquake Recovery Fund Scholarship recipients in Miyagi Prefecture for a program that took place in Los Angeles and Carlsbad, California.
During the program, students participated in homestays with families in Carlsbad (a suburb of San Diego), experienced living in a university dormitory, and visited an American corporation. Students studied English, learned leadership skills, and volunteered for community service projects. The program also featured extensive contact with Americans through academic programs, homestays, social and sightseeing activities, and exposure to American culture and values.
- For photos, click here