2011 JET MIP for U.S. High School Students
On March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami hit the Tohoku area. Ms. Taylor Anderson, who was in Ishinomaki City, and Mr. Montgomery Dickson, who was in Rikuzen Takada City, lost their lives while serving as cultural ambassadors representing the U.S.
To commemorate the work of these two individuals, who lost their lives while participating in the JET program, the Japan Foundation invited 32 American high school students to participate in a language and culture immersion program.
The purpose of this program is threefold: first, to motive Japanese language learners to continue learning Japanese and to promote Japanese language education in general; second, to encourage future generations to participate in JET or similar exchange programs; third, to promote networking opportunities among participants in this program who will act as ambassadors in future relations between Japan and the U.S.
On July 28, 2011, all the participants came back to the U.S. after completing their 10 day Japanese language training in Japan, and attended the last wrap up session and farewell dinner in San Francisco. Ms. Shelley Fredrickson and Mr. Ian Dickson, sister and brother of the late Montgomery Dickson flew in from Alaska to attend this event.
The participants gave PowerPoint presentations about their 10 day journey to Japan including their experiences with Japanese-language training, home stay in Osaka, exchange with local high school students, field trip to Kyoto, and day trip to Iwate. Ms. Fredrickson, who listened to the eight group presentations with enthusiasm till the very end, gave her words to the Japanese language learners.
My little brother’s dream was to become a bridge between Japan and the United States. It was right about the time when he was in high school just like you when he almost gave up because of the strict Japanese-language teacher’s intensive training. But in order to realize his dream, he knew he had to study Japanese harder and he achieved his dream of being appointed in Japan on the JET program. Therefore, I would like you to know that strict teachers are good for you.
Ms. Fredrickson was occasionally moved to tears, but was successful in telling this episode about her late brother, Monty-san, as an encouraging message to the participants. A few students even articulated that they already know what they would like to do in the future after this 10 day trip.
The following day, July 29th, with immense excitement to share their own experiences with fellow classmates at their schools, the 32 individuals took off from San Francisco to their homes all across the United States.