EIC 2018 Completion Report
For the year 2018, a total of 224 Japanese elementary school students from 3rd through 6th grade joined the Kumon English Immersion Camps (EIC) organized by the Kumon Global Network Team (GNT). There were four camps in total, each camp lasting for six days. Out of the four camps, the first two camps were held in Biwako (Shiga Prefecture) from the 30th July through the 11th August while the remaining two camps were held in Izu (Shizuoka Prefecture) from the 13th August through the 25th August.
This year, EIC brought together 52 Camp Leaders and Camp Staff from 26 countries and children from all over Japan, creating an environment rich in diversity. Despite their individual differences, all of the participants shared a willingness to get to know each other, learn from each other, and help each other grow while using English as a tool for communication.
(1) Gaining confidence through communication
EIC aims to instill confidence in children by encouraging them not to be afraid of making mistakes and providing them with opportunities to communicate with many different people. On the first day of the camp, many children were shy and nervous. However, they gradually gained confidence as they began to experience the joy of being able to connect with other people and expressing themselves in English.
This year, we introduced several new activities that were implemented with the purpose of encouraging children to take the initiative in expressing their ideas. For example, the format of the “Amazing Japan” activity was changed into a more interactive and creative role-play activity where children took on different roles of chefs and travel agents to recommend famous foods and places in Japan.
(2) Embracing diversity and broadening worldview
In EIC, children experienced living a communal lifestyle with people from diverse backgrounds through which they learned how to be more understanding and caring. They also learned how to support each other and work together as a team through teamwork activities in the camp.
There were also interactive and experiential activities where children got to discover and learn more about other countries and cultures such as “Traveling around the World,” “World Food Market” and “Cultural Showbiz.” In addition, a new activity introduced this year was “Stories of the World” where Camp Leaders shared interesting stories about their own people, country, and culture.
This year, in order to raise children’s awareness about global issues, we collaborated with a chocolate company based in Kyoto called Dari K to share information about fair trade at the two Biwako camps. As for the camps in Izu, experts from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Japan gave an interactive presentation on sustainable food products.
We hope that such exposure to diversity and global perspectives sparks curiosity and motivation in the children to further broaden their worldview and contribute to global society.
(3) Gaining motivation to take on higher challenges
This year’s EIC was made all the more special by the presence of Volunteer Camp Staff (VCS) who were past participants of EIC. Three of them first participated in EIC when they were elementary school students. They are now university students but they came back to contribute to the camp as Volunteer Camp Staff. They also shared with camp participants their EIC experience and how they took on various challenges after the camp.
In Biwako camp, three other past EIC participants – Asuka Yoshikawa (EIC 2010), Honoka Yoshimoto (EIC 2012), Tomoha Onuma (EIC 2015) – also joined us to share about their experiences.
On the last day of the camp, inspired and motivated by the stories and encounters with various people, including the VCS, participants reflected on their EIC experience, their future dreams, and gave presentations about challenges they would like to take up after EIC.
The Kumon Global Network Team would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to each and every individual who supported and contributed to the successful completion of EIC 2018.
To all the participants, even though the camps may be over, we look forward to seeing you take on new challenges and striving towards your own goals. Please keep the friendships you made in EIC strong by staying in touch with each other. We have upcoming events such as the Overseas Study Tour (OST) and the Global Network Initiatives (GNI) where you can meet again with your Camp Leaders and friends. See you all again in the near future!