I took part in WCI 2010’s 3rd Session in Ueda and Toride.
Being part of this program brought many amazing changes and opportunities. At first, I could have not imagined how this whole experience would be: the multicultural staff and participants, being in a foreign country with such a unique culture and customs and the thing that turned out to be my favorite, being inside the life of a regular Japanese host family.
Through WCI, not only we could have access to facilities and do things a regular visitor wouldn’t be able to do, but we can interact and live with locals. Additionally, even though it takes place in Japan, the program is not all about Japan; it’s about learning to see the world with a more internationalist point of view, knowing other cultures and losing biased prior views which we build throughout our lives. During the program I stayed with two host families, both were really nice and open minded to the “flaws” that we foreigners commit in Japan, such as using the toilet slippers inside the house! But with one of the host families, the relationship I built with them was so intense and strong that our relation got stronger with time. We exchanged mails and I was able to visit them one more time after the program. I such a great time during New Year’s holidays with them and they made me feel as a member of the family!
In a nutshell, the program made me open my mind to the differences, correct my pre conceptions about Japan and other countries, and most importantly, made me leave a part of my heart with each of the good friends I made there.
(Pedro Aguilar, Brazil)