First immersion program in Japan celebrates 20th anniversary

On July 21, Katoh Gakuen Gyoshu High School held a celebration commemorating the 20th anniversary of the English Immersion Program. The day included a look back at the past 20 years, speeches from the graduates, and a lunch with current and past students of the program.

Many graduates from the earliest years of the program returned to talk to current students and to reconnect with old friends and past classmates. Graduates shared memories of their experiences in the immersion program, what they have done since graduating, and how the program affected their lives. All the graduates stated that their experience as a student in the high school Bilingual International Baccalaureate Program gave them opportunities that they know they would never have had otherwise.

Although many of the graduates are still at university, the earliest graduates have begun their careers in Japan and abroad. In many cases, their bilingualism is a skill that is essential to their professional lives. Some of the professions that the graduates have embarked upon include: hotel management and tourism, computer programming, engineering, international sales and promotion, teaching, and work with non-profit organizations. Some of the companies represented in the group include Google, TDK, Intel, Mitsubishi, and Hilton Hotels.

The day reaffirmed the sense that everyone associated with Katoh Gakuen’s Bilingual International Baccalaureate Program—past and present—is an integral member of a bilingual “family.” — MIKE BOSTWICK

Leave a Reply