The TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars Program is a unique youth exchange program that provides a total of 200 American and Japanese university students (100 American and 100 Japanese) an opportunity to learn about each other’s countries and cultures. Four selected universities in the United States are paired with a partner Japanese university to facilitate the exchanges. This program offers the opportunity for students to engage in cultural exchange while learning about the life of Senator Daniel K. Inouye and to embracing the lessons and legacy of his life as a bridge between Japan and the United States, public servant and political leader.
I was one of the selected US participants to be a representative of the US program. Our main objective was hosting the visiting students from Japan at DePaul University. I was specifically chosen by the overall officials because of my energy and positive attitude. Before they came, I helped plan events and activities that gave them a strong sense of Chicago. This consisted of service work in diverse areas, scavenger tours, guest speakers, and food tours. During their visit, it was my job to keep everyone feeling great whether in the morning or evening. I spent as much time as possible getting to know each person and how they want to change the future. I really felt the passion in everyone on how they wanted to strengthen the bond between both countries.