Invited to be a Student Ambassador to Japan.

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by AussieSharon, Oct 8, 2008.

  1. AussieSharon

    AussieSharon Songster

    Dec 18, 2007
    My 13 year old son just got a letter in the mail inviting him to be a Student Ambassador in Japan Summer 2009. 2 years back he went to Canada for 3 weeks as an Ambassador with People to People.

    Does anyone here have a child who has been an Ambassador? The trip to Canada cost us about $4500 to send him. This was all airfare, travel, accommodation, meals and an incredible itinery. So although it was a lot he also had experiences of a lifetime.

    He skipped last years trip due to funds (Australia and New Zealand) and of course Japan is his absolute DREAM destination and has been hoping and praying he'd get Japan.

    The cost of the trip to Japan will be around $6000. I'm off to squeeze every egg I can get out of my chickens!
  2. How wonderful. He must be very proud. You too....

    Is there any type of fundraising that you's can do to help raise money for the trip???
    How long would he be in Japan??

    He sounds like he's a very lucky kid to get the chances he has been given. Let alone all the travel he gets to do. Does he go by himself?? Or do you get to go with??

    Again...Congrats to your son....
  3. cluckychick

    cluckychick Songster

    Mar 29, 2008
    South of KCMO
    Our son did a semester of college in China. His major is anthropology. He feel in love and wants to go back. Right now he's studying Japanese history. I hope your son gets to go, sounds like some exciting times in his life [​IMG] Good Luck
  4. AussieSharon

    AussieSharon Songster

    Dec 18, 2007
    Thank you Shawna. We are extremely proud of Wyatt. He's a quiet kid, not sporty but a smart and polite young man. The trip to Japan will be 2 weeks. Unfortunately no parents allowed! LOL. All students who are Ambassadors go with local Delegations for their State which usually includes 3 or 4 school teachers. The teachers must be recommended, go through testing, interviews etc to be accepted into the program.

    Here's the website if you're interested. It was started by Dwight D Eisenhower

    They give you fundraising suggestions but it's up to the student and their family to do them. Some kids get lucky and have parents/grandparents who pay for the entire trip. Unfortunately not our case. Last time we asked local businesses to sponsor Wyatt with no success at all. He spent MANY weekends walking our old neighborhood selling candy bars. Sold his game system and begged neighbors to give him any kind of odd job. Now that we've moved out to no mans land that isn't so easy. LOL
  5. AussieSharon

    AussieSharon Songster

    Dec 18, 2007
    Quote:Thanks. Sounds like your son had an incredible time. The things they get to see and experience really are once in a lifetime opportunities, as I'm sure you've heard many stories from your son. I am really hoping we can find a way to send him to Japan next year.
  6. I didn't look at the link you provided yet, but for the fundraising can he go to local business.....I know the Wally's World here helps out SOMETIMES with things. They sometimes donate money, the school our girls attend does things too, to help a child raise money--like x amout of money for a blue jean day (teachers pay $XX on the day they were jeans). I know there are other business things that have 'fundraisers' items that the kids can sell....I think home interior has jar candles. Not sure if you have to be in the business to get the fundraiser items to sell or if anyone can ask to sell them.
    Living in the country can sometimes hinder the fundraising a kid can do. Do you have any local 4-H groups around you. I know the one our girls go to donates money for local kid benifits/fundraisers. There's has a $25 cap on it, but hey it's $25 more than the benefit/fundraiser started with...With winter coming soon, maybe he can shovel snow for someone, rake yards, help out on a local farm.....

    Good luck....
  7. AussieSharon

    AussieSharon Songster

    Dec 18, 2007
    The biggest problem we ran into last time with local business is it isn't tax deductable because you're donating to an individual, not the organization. One problem also is our family is very small so not a lot of relatives to hit up. LOL

    Once we get all the details to this trip he wants to get permission at school to sell scented pencils or something similar to help raise money. One thing is for sure, Xmas, Birthday etc will be cash and he'll be doing a LOT of hard work to get there.

    Not saying that is a bad thing. It took him blood, sweat and tears to get to Canada but he said it was worth every second of it.
  8. Mominator

    Mominator In the Brooder

    Jun 9, 2008
    Killingworth, CT
    So funny that you should post this, AussieSharon. My 13-year-old son just got an invitation to go to Australia with People to People, and I was going to throw away the invitation having never heard of the organization and not knowing anyone that has attended. You have peaked my interest! Do you have any more information to share about the trips? How is safety addressed? etc... Maybe we'll go to the information session after all. Do you have any concerns about how things were handled? Thanks in advance!

  9. AussieSharon

    AussieSharon Songster

    Dec 18, 2007
    Sandy congratulations to your son! I can say it is an absolutely incredible experience and would highly recommend it. Wyatt wanted to go to Australia and New Zealand last year but we just couldn't afford it.

    The organization is great. I was a little concerned with Wyatt's first trip to Canada as he was just getting ready to start 7th grade but it went very smoothly. Once the kids are accepted into the program they start going to monthly meetings where you meet the other ambassadors, the leaders and parents. You really become a tight knit group working together. The kids are best of friends long before they leave. The leaders are well trained and just wonderful. By the time Wyatt left I had no worries at all.

    In case of any kind of emergency the leaders are trained to handle every situation. They have a way to contact you while overseas. When the group arrives in the country they are met by appointed People to People guides who take them every place they need to go.

    Wyatt's old leader was telling us they were near London when the bombing went on a couple of years back. With assistance from People to People in the UK and back here in the States they made a quick change of plans, got out of the area and the kids had no idea anything had even happened!

    The kids get ample time to call home. Wyatt called about every 3 days for the 21 days he was in Canada. Every time he called he was happy, excited about what they had just done or were about to do. The chance in him was incredible. He went from a shy very quiet kid to outgoing and having more friends. Some of the kids from his Canada trip 2 years ago still keep in contact with him.

    Sorry for the novel. Feel free to ask any questions and I'll help any way I can. I can say that I wouldn't hesitate to send Wyatt again... and honestly he has been checking the mail daily for weeks knowing that he'd be getting a letter soon.

    The things these kids get to experience though the program are things you could never do on a regular vacation.
  10. s6bee

    s6bee Songster

    Jul 1, 2007
    Western, NY
    Congratulations to you and your son. My son did the Ambassador program years ago to Australia ( his dream location ) It was a $4000 trip for us 6 yrs. ago. Great opportunity, a bit disappointed in the supervision given. He was a 6th grader at the time and they let the kids as a group go to the mall of all places in Sydney with no chaperone. I think it's a wonderful program for some though. There was not as much "learning" as I was told there would be and though he had a great time, as a younger student I felt it would have been better for him to go when he was older. As an older student they do more.
    Now, my next comment is not meant to be directed to you or your son personally. But this program is not as "elite" as it may make you feel. They get names at random, not based on any particular thing your son has done. It did nothing for my son in his college search either, they did not care.
    My suggestion to you would be this. Japan is a cool place, my husband has been there many times and we would consider living there if his job gave him the opportunity. Lots to learn. Being that your son is an 8th grader I'm assuming, he will get more out of it than my 6th grader did. If this is his dream location, go for it.
    However, investigate other programs that allow your child to get more out of it. I'm just not convinced that this program is not more than a guided tour.

    Sorry if I dampened your spirits, it was not my intentions.

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