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Wally Cournier's Blog

Ashinaga Group Asia: Overseas Training Program

Giving Ashinaga students the experience of a lifetime


Since 1995, Ashinaga has sent nearly 300 Japanese university students abroad on one-year training programs. For many students who have lost a parent, going abroad is financially infeasible. Ashinaga’s programs enable them to take advantage of an international experience that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. The program instills Ashinaga’s values of open-mindedness and an international perspective within students by having them study, work, and live abroad. The one-year program is a catalyst for students to improve their foreign language skills and often becomes the foundation of a future international career.


All Ashinaga students receive ¥300,000 to help finance their year abroad.


Current Programs


Ashinaga currently offers programs in:






-Turkey (temporarily suspended)




-The Philippines










Students are able to take part in programs such as working with local NGOs pertaining to their interests, teaching orphaned children, teaching Japanese, teaching sports, or having the opportunity to work in a business environment.


Collaboration with JICA


Ashinaga has begun providing additional support for students hoping to apply for the JICA internship program in Sub-Saharan Africa. Students selected for this program undergo a rigorous training program, including studies about their destination country and intensive language classes to bring them to a proficient level before they start their placement. Students then get the chance to work at the forefront of international development by assisting the JICA office in their destination country for a number of months. Ashinaga provides additional financial support for its students who are selected for this program.


Los Angeles Exchange


Ashinaga offers a further experience in partnership with Lions Club International and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles. Students selected for this program are invited to a two-week program in Los Angeles, where they will be able to experience American culture and improve their language skills by living alongside an American host family.


A Student’s Experience


“I stayed for about one year in Uganda as part of the 7th Overseas Training Program. After coming home, I then took part in the Ashinaga P-Walk 10 organizing committee. I graduated from university in March 2013, and I am now working as an elementary school teacher at a state school in Tokyo. For me, the training program in Uganda was a year of facing up to life, holding the responsibility to engage in education, and truly feeling the meaning of intensity.


Nowadays, whenever I get the chance, I do my best to tell my students about my experience in Uganda—the points of view and ways of thinking that I learned there. These kids are highly sensitive, but I think this helps them to, little by little, broaden their points of view and get a feeling for the wider world.


After talking to them about how children in Uganda often don’t get to eat until they are full, I saw fewer kids leaving leftover food at lunchtime. In their own childlike way, it looks like my thought of them wanting to do something for those children is taking shape. Undoubtedly, whatever happens, the stories about Uganda are sure to stick with these kids.


Through the training program in Uganda, I felt how things right in front of me were definitely not as they seem. For this reason, I think we adults have to support and uphold that growth for the kids who are right in front of us. I think I want to spend my days with these kids, while at the same time always keeping the smiles of the kids in Uganda in my heart.”


(Airi, Uganda training program participant)


Rainbow Exchange


In exchange for accepting our students in Indonesia and Turkey, Ashinaga invites students from Kocaeli University and Airlangga University to join our summer tsudoi programs and experience Japanese culture alongside our Ashinaga students.


How to Apply


Current Ashinaga students who are interested in applying for these programs should contact Ashinaga headquarters for further details.