15 ICU students arrived in New York City on July 3rd to participate in Global Link, a month-long summer program organized by JICUF. The main goal of the program is to expose students to global career opportunities. Since its inception in 2014, Global Link has evolved from an internship-based program with just five participants to an activity-packed program with office visits, professional roundtables, discussion sessions, and volunteer activities. This year, JICUF was able to offer incredible opportunities to learn about various professional fields such as finance, law, diplomacy, trade, media and health, thanks to the generosity of alumni in New York and Washington, D.C.
Here is an overview of the first two weeks of the program.
Week 1 (July 3-7, 2017)
On July 3rd, students checked into International House, a facility near Columbia University that houses mainly graduate students and young professionals. After enjoying the July 4th fireworks, the students arrived for orientation at the JICUF office on the 5th. A welcome lunch was held at Dinosaur BBQ in Harlem, after which the students traveled downtown and walked across Brooklyn Bridge. They took the East River Ferry from Dumbo to North Williamsburg, and toured the Mast Brothers chocolate factory.
On July 6th, Chair of the Board of Trustees at JICUF, Sam Shepherd, led a session on identity at the JICUF office. Fellow trustee Phyllis Larson also joined the session. The trustees and students had a lively discussion on what constitutes identity and issues related to identity. The students then went on a walking tour of Harlem.
On July 7th, the group visited a women’s shelter in Brooklyn to volunteer for their children’s program. Women in Need is a non-profit organization that provides safe housing and basic services to homeless women and children to help them rebuild their lives. The students broke into five groups, and each picked a traditional Japanese activity to introduce to the children: origami, kendama, shodo, kami-zumo and ohajiki. Elementary school-age children gathered around each table and took turns enjoying the activities.
Week 2 (July 10-14, 2017)
July 10th was “UN Day.” The students participated in the official tour at the United Nations Headquarters, and were briefed by Mr. Dan Shepard of the UN Department of Information on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We had lunch on the 27th floor of the UN and were joined by nine UN staff. In the afternoon, ICU alumni Ikuko Yamaguchi (UNICEF) and Ryo Nakamura (UN) and three other staff talked about their careers and took questions from students. After the session, we visited the Permanent Mission of Japan to the UN and met Deputy Permanent Representative Ambassador Yasuhisa Kawamura and Counsellor Hajime Kishimori.
On July 11th, the students visited Fujisankei Communications International, where former OYR Michael Schelp briefed the students about the challenges that the TV industry currently faces. Newscaster Kaoriko Kuge then talked about her career, and allowed the students to take turns in the studio doing a mock weather forecast.
In the afternoon, the students enjoyed two museum tours: the Tenement Museum, where they learned about the lives of sweatshop workers in the late 19th century, and the Museum of the City of New York, where they were introduced to the history of the city.
The Japan Foundation’s Center for Global Partnership welcomed the students on July 12th. Four staff including ICU alumna Tomomi Tanikawa talked about their career trajectories. After lunch, we walked to Fordham University for a lecture by Professor Michael Cheah, Program Director of MS in Global Finance, about careers in finance. His students gave a tour of the university to the ICU students afterward.
July 13th was an exceptionally hot day, but the students volunteered for the Riverside Park Conservancy by cleaning up Sakura Park, right by I-House where they are staying. After cooling down, they gathered at the JICUF office for a roundtable on education. JICUF trustee Anne Love, who is Associate Provost for Assessment at Wagner College, and alumna Izumi Osawa-Minevich, Program Assistant at the International Education Office at Ramapo College talked about careers in education. (Izumi is also the head of the Alumni Association’s NY Chapter.) In the late afternoon, we visited Itochu International in Midtown for a briefing about their work and hiring practices in the U.S. and Japan.
Finally, on Friday, July 14th, JICUF Program Manager Fernando Rojas gave the students a tour of his alma mater, Columbia University. Later, we met at the JICUF office for a roundtable on journalism. Asahi Shimbun’s NY Bureau Chief Satoshi Ukai and reporter for Nikkei, Ariana King were joined by filmmaker Megumi Nishikura (all ICU graduates) on skype to discuss their careers. In the evening, we hosted a meet-and-greet at a Japanese restaurant in Midtown and 16 alumni mingled with the Global Link students and an additional student who happened to be in NY for an internship.
To be continued …