EIC 2017 Completion Report
For the past 16 years, we have held Kumon English Immersion Camps (EIC) for Japanese elementary school students and this year was no exception. This year, we are proud to announce that a total of four camps were completed successfully with a total of 314 participants. Out of the four camps, three were held in Biwako (Shiga Prefecture) and one in Izu (Shizuoka Prefecture).
During the period from July 31st through August 23rd, children from all over Japan and Camp Leaders, who are international students studying in Japan, gathered at the camps and spent a wonderful time together. Through the EIC, the participants were able to form meaningful friendships, learn from each other, and make wonderful memories that will be fondly recalled for many years.
“Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Let’s try communicating in English!”
This was the slogan that the camp participants said out loud together at the beginning of the camps. Even in the days that followed, they were continuously reminded that it was okay to make mistakes. The most important thing was to get them out of their comfort zones and to encourage them to challenge themselves by communicating in English with different people who had come together at the camp. And our participants did just that! There were times when they could not find the proper word to express themselves. There were times when they couldn’t quite grasp what the other person was trying to say. But, no matter how challenging it might be, they never gave up. They tried hard to find different ways to express their thoughts and feelings. They put in their best efforts to understand what the other person was trying to convey. Using English as a communication tool, they were able to get to know each other and build friendships that crossed cultural and individual differences.
Gaining confidence by taking on a new challenges
Throughout the camp, children gradually gained confidence by taking on different challenges each day. In the first few days, they adjusted themselves to an English-speaking environment. They used simple English to get to know their Camp Leaders and friends through fun games and activities
Then, as the camp progressed, they tried to tackle higher communication challenges such as sharing their opinions in group work, presenting in front of many people, and engaging in conversations with other people. With practice and support from Camp Leaders, they were able to gain more confidence in their English communication abilities.
Furthermore, every day during the camp, the children were encouraged to set a goal for the next day. When they were able to achieve their goals on the following day, they experienced a sense of achievement and gained the motivation to try even harder.
Broadened worldview through exposure to cultural diversity
The camps are held annually in Japan and the presence of Camp Leaders who are from different countries and cultures provides a unique and diverse environment for children. This year we worked together with a total of 52 Camp Leaders from 29 countries in all the camps combined.
As a result, children had the opportunity to get to know more about the cultures, customs, and different ways of life in other countries around the world through activities such as Traveling Around the World, World Food Market, Knowing the World, and Cultural Showbiz. Through this exposure to diversity, they developed an interest in the bigger world outside their own country and community.
Giving back to society
Through the EIC we also hope to make children aware of what they can do to make a positive contribution to the global community. This year, we collaborated with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Japan to raise children’s awareness about global warming and what they can do to help prevent it. Even during the camp, children took many small actions to save the environment such as turning off lights and air conditioning when leaving the room, and recycling PET bottles and caps. The PET bottle caps that EIC participants collected will be recycled and sold to raise money for polio vaccines.
Furthermore, in accordance with the tradition of the EIC, children earned “Well Done Points” in the camp by doing good deeds. This year, a total of 7,062 Well Done Points was earned. These points will be converted into money by the Hotel Biwako Plaza and the Izu Training Center, which were the venues for the EIC in 2017. The money will then be donated to the non-profit organization, One World One People.
“This is not the end but just the beginning.”
Although the camps have ended, we believe that this is the beginning of a new chapter for our participants. With the confidence, knowledge, and skills they gained through the camp, we are excited to see them continue to take on new challenges, aim for higher goals, and grow into capable people who can contribute to the global community.
We sincerely hope that through the EIC our participants were able to realize that, despite our differences, we are all human beings with dreams, hopes, insecurities, flaws, and a capacity to love. To each and every one of you who has been a part of the EIC, let us continue to celebrate diversity and stand in unity when it comes to creating a better world.