YFU Japanese Summer Exchange Program
This June, current chapter president Camryn Haby traveled with Youth For Understanding (YFU) through Kikkoman, with an FCCLA sponsored scholarship to Japan for a summer exchange program. FCCLA provided a full scholarship for the 7 week educational trip in which Haby earned by submitting an application through YFU and completing a Skype call interview. She traveled to San Francisco the first week of summer with several other students for a 3 day orientation, and from there they traveled to Tokyo where Camryn met her host mother and host sister whom she would be living with and going to private school with for the next 7 weeks. Camryn's goal for the trip was to become fluent in Japanese and immerse herself into the Japanese culture, both of which she accomplished. While she was there she attended a private Christian high school where she participated in classes and after school activities, such as a tea ceremony club, where she learned to make traditional tea with her new friends and classmates. In addition to exploring the city, Haby also visited a traditional Japanese theater called the Kabuki Theater, made traditional flower arrangements, attended several festivals, and wore traditional Japanese garments. Camryn would encourage anyone to step out of their comfort zone and travel to a new place, saying she had the "experience of a lifetime" and "wouldn't have wanted to spend her summer any other way". Through this great educational experience, Camryn was able to grow as a student, and as a person, learning more than she ever could have imagined such as language, culture, and perspective.