Sarah Draper, a member of FCCLA and a student at Bingham High School, was recently awarded the FCCLA Japanese Exchange Scholarship. She is one of fourteen FCCLA student members in the U.S. to receive this prestigious scholarship, funded by the Kikkoman Corporation and administered by Youth for Understanding USA.
Japanese Exchange is a scholarship opportunity for FCCLA student members to travel to Japan for four-to-six weeks as an exchange student. Sarah will live with a Japanese host family and learn about the culture and traditions of Japan. It will be a summer Sarah will never forget!
Sarah tells UtahCTE.org about her decision to apply for the Japanese Exchange Scholarship and how FCCLA has influenced her life.
“I first heard about the opportunity to become an exchange student from my mom. She went to Japan as an exchange student the summer after her sophomore year of high school through a FHA/Kikkoman scholarship. I have read journal entries from her time in Japan and have seen the souvenirs that she brought home over 25 years ago.
“I was born in Okinawa, Japan while my dad was serving active-duty in the U.S. Air Force; however, we moved back to the states when I was just two years old. I don’t remember a thing [about living in Japan]. Ever since I was young I have wanted to return to Japan, and when my mom told me about her exchange experience I knew this was something I wanted to do!
“In ninth grade I had a history teacher who spent two years in Japan. When he taught the Japanese unit he was so excited. We spent a lot of time learning about the culture, traditions, celebrations, and people of Japan. He showed us pictures of the food they eat and a movie of people being shoved onto trains in the morning rush hour. We learned to write the different Japanese alphabets. During this unit about Japan I began to love their way of life.
“FCCLA teaches that everyone is unique and we need to accept everyone. Going to Japan is a chance for me to immerse myself in another culture and learn to love it and accept their differences. I once heard a quote referring to different cultures around the world, ‘It’s not good, it’s not bad, it’s just different.’ I think this is so true.
“I hope I can take what I have learned in FCCLA, and from other people in my life, and make my time in Japan an incredible experience. Thank you FCCLA for making it possible for me to experience a life-long dream!”
If you’re interested in becoming a member of Utah FCCLA contact the FCCLA adviser in your school.