Going Global

Spending my summer working as a Global English Camp intern in Japan has been nothing short of transformative (cliche I know), but the weeks I spent participating in the program have been a journey. A year ago, the prospect of traveling to a foreign country alone seemed like a faraway dream. It was something I eventually wanted to do, but in the far future, restricted to the realms of my bucket list. As a result, since I had never flown by myself, landing in Haneda airport tasked with the goal of navigating to the welcoming week venue was like being thrown in the deep end. Since this is my first formal teaching experience, I spent week 1 nervously glued to the textbook’s curriculum.  Looking back now, I was surprised by how quickly switching venues each week and tailoring my teaching style to a new set of students became normal.

Tokyo (Chiba)

Yokohama Chinatown

Toshin’s Asahikawa venue in Hokkaido

Now that I have gotten the opportunity to travel, live, and work in Japan—to see Hokkaido, Tokyo, and Yokohama—and most importantly meet and work with so many amazing students and fellow interns, I have realized three main things:

1. The importance of packing light

My carry-on, checked, and laptop bag

Bringing all of the bags depicted in the image to the left was a mistake. I quickly realized I could have left half of the clothes I packed behind in the US. Trains are usually very crowded. This made hauling all of my things onto the platform every time I had to check out of housing the bane of my existence for the duration of my internship.

2. The 5 Day Difference is real.

English Camp has a 5 day curriculum that transitions from ice-breaker activities on Day 1 that get students more comfortable speaking English, to UN sustainable development goal discussions on Day 3, and eventually life mission presentations on Day 5, where each student gives a 5 minute speech in front of the whole class. Coming into the program, I was not sure how much of an impact interns could realistically have on their groups in such a short period of time, but each week teaching has pleasantly surprised me. Even just comparing Day 1 to Day 3, many of my students’ English speaking confidence has improved drastically. Students have gone from only responding to questions when called on to volunteering to participate, asking questions of their own, and even making jokes.

3. The program’s impact is definitely not just restricted to students.

Day 5 Intern Speeches

Talking with students and helping them find and or articulate their life mission in English, as well as, listening to other interns present on their future dreams, has made me more motivated to achieve mine. Group discussions on global problems increased my awareness of issues relevant to Japan (like the country’s increasing aging population, the countryside’s decreasing population, and the nation’s doctor shortage).

Overall, although this was a teaching internship, I ended up learning so much from my students and coworkers. Working as a Global English Camp Mentor, somehow ended up solidifying my desire to merge travel, research, education, and medicine in my future career as a global health physician.

Date posted: September 4, 2019 | | No Comments » | Uncategorized

A Week in the Life of a Global English Camp Intern

By Grace Simmons

This summer, I am working as a Global English Camp intern for a company called Come On Out Japan. The goal of the program is to help Japanese high school students improve their English speaking confidence and reflect on their future goals with a 5 day curriculum.

So far, my days have been spent navigating the Tokyo subway system during rush hour, exploring cities with my coworkers, and learning more about Japanese culture and education through training week.

Tokyo Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park Rooftop Garden

Like California, earthquakes are very common in Japan. Due to this, in Odaiba, all of the interns underwent Disaster Training in Tokyo Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park.

Signs like the one above highlight the emphasis Japan places on citizens working together to help each other when disaster strikes. Fun Fact: In the case of an emergency, it is possible to MacGyver an arm sling out of a plastic bag.

Color Coded Trash Bags My House Manager Gifted Me

Speaking of plastic bags, another thing covered during training week was trash. Garbage is sorted according to Bottles, Cans, Plastics, Paper, Combustible, and Incombustible waste in order to be more eco-friendly.

Pro-tips to keep the electricity bill from jumping unexpectedly on your housemates

My Shared House Post Floating-Noodle Party

During Training Week, Come on Out also covered cultural differences related to living in a shared house: Everything from common sense things like not leaving the air conditioning running in an empty room to how to cope with the rarity of dryers in Japan.

Ringing in the end of training week with an overnight trip to Hakone

Overall, Training Week has been fun and informative! Tomorrow is my first day teaching, and I am really excited to meet my students, apply what I have learned, and help them to improve their English speaking confidence as well as think about their life missions.

Date posted: July 28, 2019 | | No Comments » | Health & Care Uncategorized