EIC 2019 Completion Report
This year, 204 Japanese elementary school students from third through sixth grade joined the Kumon English Immersion Camps (EIC) organized by the Kumon Global Network Team (GNT). During the period from 29th July through 19th August, a total of three camps were held, each camp lasting for six days. The first camp was held in Minakami (Gunma Prefecture) and the remaining two camps were held in Biwako (Shiga Prefecture).
(1) Creating new connections and strengthening old ones
Our Camp Leaders for EIC 2019 came from various regions around the world – Asia, Africa, North America, South America and Oceania – with the majority being from Asia. This year, EIC brought together Camp Leaders and Camp Staff from 22 countries and children from all over Japan. The newest country to join the EIC family is Bahrain, making it the 90th country in our global network.
Meanwhile, we also welcomed back four past participants to EIC! This time, their roles were different from when they joined the camp as elementary school students several years ago. Now university students, three of them – Ami Kaneda, Haru Sugishita, and Nanako Okumura – joined the camp as Volunteer Camp Staff (VCS) and one of them – Madoka Nakamura – joined as a Camp Leader. It was our honor and pleasure to see former EIC participants grow up to become capable individuals who are motivated to give back to their community and make a positive impact!
(2) Using English as a tool to communicate, connect and broaden worldview
EIC is a place where participants can discover how English can be used as a tool to communicate, connect, and broaden their worldview. As the first step towards making that discovery, since Day 1 of the camp, participants are encouraged to remember the EIC slogan: “Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Let’s try communicating in English!” Adopting such an attitude towards using English helps participants realize that communication is not about using a language perfectly. Rather, it is more about using language as a tool to understand others and to help others understand us. Communicating with people from different backgrounds makes participants realize the necessity and importance of English as a common language that can bridge differences across nationalities, cultures, and backgrounds. It helps them connect with people in a different way than they are used to in their normal everyday lives.
The camp program also had activities which introduced children to the world outside Japan. In activities such as Traveling around the World (TAW), World Food Market (WFM), and Cultural Showbiz participants learned about foreign countries’ cultures and how they are similar or different to their own culture. These new discoveries led them to be more curious about the bigger world outside of their own country. In EIC, children learn not only about diversity but also about common global issues that are faced by many countries around the world. This year, in the Wonderland activity, participants explored the theme of education. They learned what schools in other countries look like, what challenges exist in receiving an education for children in other parts of the world, and the consequences of not being able to get a quality education.
Participants were later introduced to a globally renowned organization which implements creative solutions to solving challenges in education. They learned about how the world’s largest non-governmental organization (NGO) called BRAC has established BRAC primary schools to provide quality education for underprivileged children in Bangladesh. To further illustrate the point that awareness about global issues can lead to action, and that small actions can have a big impact when people work together, EIC participants also collected PET bottle caps and “well-done points” which will be used to provide vaccines and build wells for those in need in other countries. Through these activities, EIC provided participants with opportunities to broaden their worldview and to think more about what they can do to become responsible global citizens.。
Impressions from EIC 2019 Participants
Impressions from EIC 2019 Camp Leaders
Minakami Camp Leader: Manvi（India）
It was a great experience, being part of the Kumon English Immersion Camp. English as a language should not only be taught within a class but also practiced beyond the walls of a classroom. I feel that camps like EIC help in accomplishing such goals. Moreover, confidence in a language is as much important as learning the basics of a language. At the end of the camp, I observed that many kids who were shy earlier were speaking so nicely and openly. And that made me very proud as a camp leader.
Biwako Camp Leader: Patty (Indonesia)
Before joining, I had the image that the main purpose for the camp is merely English. However I was very impressed how the programs are well thought, and aimed to foster children’s growth in many ways. I’m also glad that in the camp, children are challenged to step out of their comfort zone. Not only they use English throughout the whole program, they also interact with people of different ages, cultures and backgrounds! I think they have a lot to take back home with them. They had fun and made friends, yet they also learn about the problems of the world. Seeing how kids respond critically during Wonderland made me hopeful that these young people can be change makers in the future!
(3) EIC as a stepping stone to take on higher challenges
On the last day of the camp, participants gave individual presentations at the graduation ceremony. They talked about what they had learned at EIC, what kinds of challenges they would like to take on after the camp, and what their future dreams are. It was a meaningful time for the participants to share with each other what they had gained from the camp and their motivation to aim for higher goals in the future.
Message to participants
To all 2019 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 through the EIC family blog. We also have upcoming exciting 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!
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 2019. Thank you for all of your tireless efforts in making the camp a place where everyone was able to learn, grow, and create wonderful memories!