Our Healthy Lifestyles Coordinator, Dan Kaneko, recently returned from an internship with the Osaka YMCA. In this blog entry, he shares with us what he's learned, all the fun experiences he's had, and why he would recommend this internship to others!
Hisashiburi desu ne - I recently returned from a 3-month trip abroad spent working for the Osaka YMCA and also exploring Japan and other Asian countries. My adventure abroad was full of new experiences, cultural exchanges, valuable friendships, and memories that will last a lifetime.
Overview of the Internship Program
The Osaka YMCA offers an annual summer internship featuring more than 40 interns from 9 different countries with 8 different job placements. Intern positions include Global Youth Conference facilitators, Camp Rokko interns, media & communications assistants, Kindergarten assistants, International High School teaching assistants, Camp Anan interns, wellness assistants, and aquatics assistants. The length of the internship varies by department but generally lasts around two months. Housing accomodations were provided and vary from dorm-room style, shared apartments, and homestays with Japanese families. An allowance was also provided to help cover the costs of travel as well as for spending money during time off.
My Biggest Highlights
While the professional experience I gained was valuable, it was the relationships I built and the memories I made with those people that I will always hold closest to my heart. After living together, working together and exploring Japan together, we really started to feel like a family. I never knew that I would have so many friends from all over the world!
Of course being in Japan, you can’t talk highlights without mentioning the food and travel - I ate a lot of oishi ramen and sushi, and some of the places I visited were so beautiful that pictures just don’t do them justice!
What did I learn?
I learned about the YMCA’s global presence, and how it’s goals vary from community to community. The YMCA of Japan primarily focuses on nurturing global citizens through International Schools, Japanese Language Schools for foreigners, and English Language-based programs. Being that these programs are very different from the programs offered by our very own YMCA of Honolulu, my work experience provided the opportunity for me to learn brand new skills. In particular, I learned how to use a variety of different media software programs, and I was also challenged to create and facilitate games/activities for campers ranging from Kindergarteners to University students.
Why would I recommend this internship?
This internship was an amazing experience that allowed me to live and work in a foreign country with other young people from all over the world. Throughout the summer, I was often challenged to step out of my comfort zone, which led to both personal and professional growth. Returning home from my adventures, I can boast of new friendships and memories I will be reminiscing for the rest of my life. I can honestly say that this was the most memorable summer of my life, and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back. I’d highly recommend this internship program to anyone looking for new challenges, stimulating experiences, and lifelong friendships with some of the most incredible people you could ever meet.
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