With the world’s attention turning to Japan for the Rugby World Cup 2019 and for the 2020 Olympics, members of EO Japan realized an opportunity to cultivate an international mindset in their families. What better time to connect with other countries? And what better way to do so than by reaching out to EO peers?
EO Japan member Junji Aihara quickly set to work creating a homestay exchange program for children of EO members in Japan to visit with EO families in Guangzhou, China, and Hong Kong. Then, the children they stayed with returned with them to visit Japan.
“Attending homestay programs made the children more appreciative for the support from parents and friends, which is normal in their ordinary lives, as they could observe their lifestyle objectively. The program gave the children opportunities to interact with entrepreneurs other than their own fathers or mothers, which was very refreshing,” says Kimitaka Yoshimura, whose son, Tsukasa, took part in the program.
Asked how the exchange may have changed his son’s world view, he says, “If you go abroad, you are the foreigner and become a minority instantly. By accomplishing this homestay program at someone’s house you had never met, students could gain confidence and truly grow up.”
Plus, parents felt good knowing that their kids would be staying at other EO members’ homes. “We felt much more comfortable sending our children to other EO members’ houses based on trust and respect (one of our Core Values). We implemented the idea quickly as we felt assured it would be a valuable experience—one that would give good learning and growth to our children.” Fostering in their children the sense of curiosity and thirst for learning that’s critical to the EO mindset felt like a natural extension of their membership.
Aihara even says that the children “decided they wanted to engage in international business and be entrepreneurs in the future.”
Asked how the program was organized, Aihara explains that it’s currently done manually, with the chapters making matches based on applications. Going forward, they plan on “implementing a system in which you can get connected flexibly and interactively with EO members all over the world.”
With the global sporting events on the horizon, EO members will certainly be making the most of their global network of peers. If you’d like to connect with EO Japan members, contact Yosh Sasaki.