2019 Cultural Exchange
Building Bonds Between The Global Next Generation.
When we are young, we often underestimate the influence we have on those around us. You might think that you have not lived enough, that your lack of answers to life’s questions means you don’t possess the power to inspire others. This year’s fellows had a first-hand experience that this is simply not the case.
Throughout April, new employees from Pasona came to Manabi no Sato to have a cultural exchange with the fellows of 2019. Small groups of ten people were formed with each group containing one or two AYF Fellows.
There was no strict discussion structure, so the conversations started flowing once the ice was broken. One thing that caught the attention of the fellows was the diversity of hobbies and talents among their visitors. There were artists, programmers, sports fans and even magicians.
Their stories were just as captivating: From a girl that went to Russia to become a professional ballet dancer, another that went to Nepal as a missionary and a young man who had been practising kendo for as long as he could remember.
The Japanese visitors made a great effort to communicate in English despite the general unease that comes when trying to express oneself in a foreign language. Their will to establish a connection with the fellows was admirable, and their openness with the fellows helped to create an authentic exchange of friendship.
Even though ‘tatemae’ (public face) is very entangled in Japanese culture, the fellows were able to generate a friendly environment where their visitors were able to show their true self without fear of being judged. This environment helped to strengthen the bond between new employees to learn more about each other and grow closer together.
Overall, the cultural exchange was a success. The Japanese new employees got to experience an international environment and take a step outside their comfort zone. The fellows got the opportunity to build a stronger relationship with Japan`s youth that will contribute to shaping its future while creating new global friendships.
The different exchange of experiences and most importantly, the connections developed among the participants, will help to create a new link between Awaji, Japan and the rest of the world.
If you are interested in the Awaji Youth Federation program or would like to be one of next year’s fellows, then please head over to the AYF program website.
There you can find all the information about the program’s admission process for the chance to be selected and join us here in Japan!