If you have followed my social media accounts, you’ll notice that I flooded my accounts with Japan’s sites, cultures and companies with the hashtag JENESYS2016.
So what really is JENESYS? JENESYS stands for Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths, a program by Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE). It is a program where ASEAN, India and Timor Leste students or young entrepreneurs are invited to a 10-day exchange program with all expenses paid: airfare, accommodation, transportation and meals.
So why apply? Here are the 5 reasons why you need to apply:
1. Free Travel
Hey! Who wouldn’t want a free travel? All expenses are paid by the Japanese government: from airfare to meals to accommodation to transportation. If you won’t buy anything for yourself or souvenirs for your friends, then you can barely spend even JPY 1. Literally, there will be no expenses at all. From your arrival till your departure. Everything is being provided. How’s that? Japanese are indeed generous and hospitable.
Different delegates have been host my different airlines. But for us Filipinos, we flew with Japan Airlines. Gheeed! They serve great food especially Haagen-Dazs. Really one of the best airlines so far.
We were hosted in great hotels: Narita Tobu Hotel, Shinjuku Washington Hotel, Harumi, Grand Prince Hotel, Cosmosquare, Traditional Inn, etc. Our meals are mostly buffet so prepare to gain some weight cause you can’t just say no to delectable dishes.
Airport transfers are also included. We usually travel by bus as each group has its own tour bus. But Japan is not complete without riding the famous Shinkansen Bullet Train. So we all experienced it from Tokyo to Osaka or Nagoya or Sendai and vice versa, depending on the prefecture we were assigned.
2. Meet New Friends
Aside from the perks, one of the best things I earned from this program was gaining friends, not just friends but genuine friends. Hello #GSquad and #PilipinasRepresents! So proud of my group and my Filipino friends which turned out from strangers to great friends. From Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam; everyone is so awesome, caring, loving and fun! Not to mention, our group is the most clever and noisy one. Haha. Our Japanese coordinators, Ota-San and Sohma-San were both so loving to us. Auuhh. Missing everyone. I never thought I would be attached this much considering that we just spent 10 days with each other. It may be just 10 days but it feels like we were friends since we were born. Haha. Can you imagine that? We were so closed and so clingy with each other. Never thought bidding goodbye would cause some tears in our eyes. We may knew each other for quite some time but I’m pretty sure that the friendship we built will last till lifetime. See you soon!
3. In-Depth Experience of Japan’s Culture
There are a lot of things I have learned from this program which ordinary tourist can barely notice. Apart from the discipline and hospitality, I was able to learn that most companies in Japan is socially inclined. I have noticed that their objective is really to contribute in the society; their corporate social responsibility is one of their priorities.
I have also experienced living in a traditional inn and sleeping in a tatami. We also visited temples and witnessed how Japanese culture has been preserved. Their time consciousness is also something to note. We always start and finish on time. Again, ALWAYS! How efficient is that?
Some other groups also had a home visit wherein they visit one Japanese family and spend a whole day with them. One of my friend’s experience really moved me as his host family were so kind and loving to him.
4. Company and Local Government Visits
Now this is something ordinary tourists can’t experience. Visiting companies like Daikin, The Kansai Electric Power Company, Sakai Power plant, Shimadzu, Knowledge Capital and touring around their facilities is something you can do as a tourists. We learned how each company works and what their company plans are. We also had the opportunity to meet JICE and other local government officials which really made me elated. We also had this Luncheon Meeting where we had a lunch together with company owners and government officials. How cool is that?
5. One Time Opportunity
This opportunity is one big time. Hey! Becoming a youth ambassador was never been part of my dream because I believe I can’t qualify to be one. But here I am, part of the JENESYS 2016 Youth Ambassador Batch 1. There will be 8 more batches until the 1st quarter of 2017. So what are you waiting for? Check the National Youth Commission and JENESYS 2016 websites now and send your applications! Apply and be Japan’s Youth Ambassador.
If I only I can apply again, I will! This opportunity is one of the best milestones in my life and I want you to experience what I had experienced. This program was engraved in my heart: strangers turned to friends, in depth culture experience and free travel! 🙂