A.C.E. Cultural Experiences: York-Benimaru Summer Program 2016

Throughout the year, in addition to individual students, A.C.E. welcomes delegations and groups to our institutes who take part in our core program or special customized programs. Recently, York-Benimaru Group Program Coordinator Annie Roy took the time to share with us her adventures with this summer’s group!

I recently had the pleasure of working with 19 select high school students from Fukushima, Japan and their two chaperones, Mr. Mansunobu Uichimi and Ms. Yuki Saito, when they visited Seattle with the delegation from the YORK-Benimaru Foundation. The program sends students to practice their English in Seattle for 10 days, followed by an immersive homestay experience in Manitoba in Canada. The group from YORK has been coming to A.C.E. since 2000!


Annie, Yayoi, and Ai

For 10 days we went on adventures all over Seattle: to the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, Uwajimaya, a Mariner’s game, and many other places. It was wonderful to learn about their lives in Japan as we explored the city. All of the students were absolute joys to get to know and had a desire to learn about new cultures while practicing as much English as possible. They showed an impressive amount of maturity, excitement, and enthusiasm the entire time they were here.

All of the students were absolute joys to get to know and had a desire to learn about new cultures while practicing as much English as possible.

One of the most memorable experiences was volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club of Ballard. The York students played games and taught origami to the Ballard children while talking about everyday life in Japan and America. I know the YORK students had a wonderful time interacting with American children, practicing their English, and being able to teach aspects of their own culture. However, I also saw how the youth at the Boys and Girls club had a significant cultural and life experience as well.


About to meet the kids at the Ballard Boys and Girls Club

We were also lucky to have five volunteers from King’s High School help out with activities throughout the week. This was a wonderful experience for both groups of students, as they were able to learn a lot about each other’s culture, all the while sharing important aspects of their own. It was fun to see them share different life experiences and discover how much they have in common.

On the bus!

Overall, the York students learned a lot, built relationships, and made lasting memories. Without question, everyone who spent time with them would agree that they blessed us and we gained valuable cultural experiences and friendships as well.

— Annie Roy, York Group Program Site Coordinator

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