Group Yokohama 1170x470

Nine Key Clubbers in Nippon

From Salem, Oregon to Brooklyn, New York; Noblesville, Indiana to Montgomery, Alabama… The first Kiwanis teens to “go global” came from Key Clubs across America. In all, nine students participated in the 2017 inaugural K Corps program in Japan. They enjoyed unforgettable cultural experiences, formed strong bonds with three Japanese Kiwanis Clubs and one Circle K International Club (all in the Kanto region), contributed to an inspiring service project, and expanded their concept of family in touching ways.

The trip comprised of three days in Tokyo, a homestay with a Japanese host family, and three days in Kyoto. The wide spectrum of activities included learning about the history of Japan at the Edo Tokyo Museum, visiting historic shrines like Fushimi Inari in Kyoto, and receiving a firsthand experience with Zen meditation.

With the majority of students having no prior experience traveling abroad, much less going to Japan, the trip was an excellent opportunity to not only bond with each other but to also develop meaningful connections with new friends and families half a world away. During their stay with their host families, participants spent time volunteering with Kiwanis Japan and local Japanese high school students in Yokohama, as they collaborated on a mural art project.

One of the major highlights of the trip was spending time experiencing daily life in Japan with their host families. The students were able to share about their U.S. Key Club involvement, while quickly becoming members of their new families.

While PAX Laurasian Exchange has nearly 30 years of experience and counts successful international exchange participants in the tens of thousands, the Kiwanis touch in Japan that inaugural summer was certainly noteworthy. Students and hosts participating in cross-culture, people-to-people programs like K Corps typically find common bonds of humanity, which set the stage for a compelling experience. For those who know, this is to be expected. 

That said, placed within the shared values of Kiwanis International the K Corps experience offered a powerful, supplementary, and positively positive component. It is an honor for PAX Laurasian Exchange to have a role in this special program, and we look forward to many more impactful exchanges!

—The K Corps team at PAX Laurasian Exchange


Follow the Original Cohort on their Journey through Japan