History of English Immersion Camp
Over 19 years, the EIC Network has expanded to include 3,561 participants and 577 Camp Leaders (from 90 countries and regions).
It all started in 2001 when Mr. Yoichi Funabashi, a columnist at the Asahi Shinbun newspaper, who wrote an article called Aete Eigo Kouyougoron (“Should English be an Official Language?”), contacted us and said, “If we don’t take any measures, the whole Japanese education system will collapse. Why don’t we think and work together to make changes?” Later, Mr. Morihiko Hiramatsu (the former Governor of Oita Prefecture), Mr. Kazuichi Sakamoto (the former President of Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University), the staff and students from APU, Professor Kensaku Yoshida and students from Sophia University, and an international journalist, Ms. Reiko Kinoshita, joined us to help realize the idea of the English Immersion Camp. As a result, the English Immersion Camp was born as the first long-term camp (10 days or more) in Japan.
Value of EIC & Voices of Participants
I was able to meet a lot of people and got to know different things about the world in this camp. I gained confidence in communication. Also, I feel that Japan is a country that values equality a lot. So, I want to see and treat everyone around the world equally!
(Grade 4 Participant)
Almost a week of living away from parents and using only English– everything was a first-time experience for my son. Moreover, he was the type of child who is not very good at socializing and his English was also a bit weak. So, I was quite worried about him. However, it turns out there was no need for me to worry. When I came to see my son at the graduation ceremony, instead of joyfully reuniting with us, he was unwilling to say goodbye to all the friends and camp leaders he made in the camp. Seeing my son like this and hearing him say, ‘I want to come again next year!’ I felt that it was a very valuable experience for him. If there are parents out there who think this kind of camp might not be for their children, I would like to encourage them to believe in their child’s potential and let them experience the camp.
(Parent of a Grade 5 Participant)
Messages from EIC Past Participants
EIC 2018 Volunteer Camp Staff (EIC 2010 Participant Eka)
EIC was a chance for me to change myself. Originally, I was not an active person and was not good at expressing my thinking to others. In EIC, I was able to meet with many amazing people including my friends, Camp Leaders, and Camp Staff. I was inspired by friends who are always pro-active and who are always happy and I was able to learn how to realize who I truly am.
And this year, that I have now become a university student. This is the time for me to step up and rise to new challenges. I started wanting to ask myself, ‘From now on, what can I do for myself and what can I do for others?.’ Hence, I wanted to come back to EIC– my turning point. I thought that this is the perfect timing for me to look at myself again and give back to EIC– the place I could never be grateful enough for. My hope was for all EIC participants to be able to get the same amazing experience I have had in EIC.
EIC 2019 Volunteer Camp Staff (EIC 2010, 2011 Past Participant Haru)
EIC is my precious place where I learned a lot about this world and got my dream of working for international cooperation. This year, I applied to VCS because I want to give back to EIC. It was a great learning experience for me to observe how the camp is organized at the backstage. Also, through preparing my presentation about ‘What I have challenged after EIC’ and thinking about how I can make an impact on children with it, I could reflect upon myself and improve my presentation and communication skills. I could learn a lot in EIC 2019, as I did in EIC 2010 and 2011.
I would love to come back to EIC again. I am really looking forward to the opportunity!
Growth Image and Program
In EIC, we plan and build a Growth Image for each and every participant to grow individually in each activity throughout the six days. During the camp, participants are supported by Camp Leaders from many countries who receive training beforehand.
Living together with Camp Leaders, listening to the introductions about Camp Leaders’ countries, and thinking about world issues in English, participants get opportunities to think about SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and to raise their awareness about the world.
In order to achieve our program goals, we recruit and train KEIA leaders, who sympathize with Kumon’s philosophy of nurturing children’s growth, to facilitate our programs. Bringing together international and Japanese KEIA leaders who are either studying or working in Japan, we provide a learning environment where children can experience diversity.
EIC Program introduction
Make many new friends by playing games, singing and dancing along to English songs.
In this team-building activity, children work together as a team to overcome one challenge.
3Traveling around the World
By experiencing diverse cultures, children can understand more about different cultures and broaden their worldviews.
Learn about global issues, think about what we can do, and come up with ideas on how to contribute and take action.
Introducing Japan's famous tourist destinations, cultural experiences, delicious food, etc., in a role-play game format.
6What I Want to Challenge after EIC
At the graduation ceremony, children will give a presentation in front of everyone about their dreams and goals for the future, as well as the challenges they want to take on after EIC.