Foreign exchange programs for students offer an array of opportunities for personal growth and learning. These exchanges foster further cultural understanding, language acquisition, problem solving skills, and help broaden awareness of global issues, as well as providing many other benefits for students. Despite all of these benefits, some organizations, like the US-Japan Bridging Foundation (USJBF) and its affiliate the Japan-United States Friendship Commission (JUSFC), have noted a decline in student exchange program rates.
Spearheaded by United States-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Exchange (CULCON), another affiliate of JUSFC and USJBF, TeamUp is a new campaign designed to “increase the number of American and Japanese undergraduate students studying in each other’s country.” It plans to do this by “expanding relevant, active, mutually beneficial and innovative agreements among American and Japanese institutions of higher education.”
According to the campaign, “Over the past 70 years, the United States and Japan have built one of the world’s great partnerships, and for generations, student exchange has formed the bedrock of our people-to-people ties.” Despite the strength of this partnership, those involved in organizations such as the Japan-US Friendship Commission have observed a significant decrease in student exchange programs. The TeamUp campaign explains, “the pace of exchanges between Japan and the United States gives cause for concern. Over the past 15 years, there has been a 57 percent drop in the number of Japanese students studying in the United States,” of the alarming dip in educational exchange opportunities.
TeamUp is a year-long campaign that seeks participation from a diverse group of colleges and universities in the US and Japan. According to The PIE News, “So far there are some 50 education institutions involved in the TeamUp initiative,” which it describes as a program that “aims to facilitate networking between institutions and create a strategy to boost bilateral mobility.” Learn more about TeamUp here.
More about USJBF
USJBF is a nonprofit organization that was created in 1998 at the recommendation of the JUSFC. This organization is dedicated to recruiting students who wish to study abroad, funding scholarships for exchange students, as well as providing mentorship to students. Its Board of Directors includes Chairman Thierry Porté of JC Flowers & Company, Vice Chairman Harry Hill of Oak Lawn Marketing in Nagoya, Japan, and many other leaders in business and education. USJBF is committed to furthering strong US-Japan relations through education initiatives like TeamUp, and providing educational opportunities to young people from both countries.
More About JUSFC
JUSFC is an independent federal agency that provides support, training, and information to help prepare Americans to better meet the opportunities in the US-Japan relationship. Prominent individuals like David Sneider, Senator Lisa Murkowski, and others are currently serving as JUSFC members. Since its founding in 1975, JUSFC has been dedicated to supporting innovative and progressive partnerships between the US and Japan, as well as to demonstrating the importance of the US-Japan relationship.
More about CULCON
CULCON is a bi-national advisory panel that serves to elevate and strengthen the cultural and educational facets of the US-Japan relationship. It also strives to strengthen connections between the US and Japan leadership. It has an education task force, organizes summits to address challenges and opportunities within the US-Japan relationship, and like its other affiliates, seeks to promote educational opportunities for students in the US and Japan.