Senior Guest Writer
Last summer, I had the opportunity to spend ten days on the campus of Princeton University for “High School Diplomats,” an all-expenses-paid cultural exchange program between 40 American and 40 Japanese students. At the program, each American student is roomed with a Japanese student, spending invaluable time together and forging a tight-knit relationship, without any outside influences like phones (a much-needed technology detox!). Throughout the ten days, students take on different activities, ranging from Diplomat Talks (discussing real-world issues) to Night Out (showing the Japanese kids what school dances like Homecoming is like).
Here’s an example of a day at HSD (This day’s theme was Earth Day):
7:30am – Rajio Taiso
At Rajio Taiso, students stretch to a Japanese announcer, preparing for a fun-filled day. Before we head to breakfast, we make sure our bodies are warm to tackle any activities in the day. Also, since it was Earth Day, we got to see other people’s cool costumes (some guys dressed up like John Lennon with the wig and everything!).
8:00am – Breakfast
Through Princeton’s dining services, we eat like royalty, with different selections of pastry, yogurts, cereals, and more. Have I told you how much Princeton’s dining hall looks like Hogwarts’s dining halls?
9:00am – Japanese Language/Culture Class
Going into this program, I didn’t speak a speck of Japanese or know much about Japanese culture. By learning from Japanese professors, we immerse ourselves in all aspects of Japanese culture and have fun while learning!
12:00pm – Lunch
Again, in Princeton’s dining hall, we enjoy a variety of foods, sitting with our roommates and other pairs. It’s a great way to get to know your roommate and other HSD members in a comfortable environment!
1:00pm – Paula Chow Diplomat Talks
In a roundtable discussion, we talk about the particular state of the world and how we have a responsibility as global agents to effect change, from topics like racial stereotypes to nuclear disarmament.
6:00pm – Dinner
At the site of the Diplomat Talks, we eat tons of pizza and talk more about global issues present today.
7:00pm – Hippie Festival
At the quads outside of our dormitories, we partake in fun events to celebrate the day’s theme, such as making tie-dye shirts, creating ~slime~, and dancing to fun 70’s songs with your roommate!
11:00pm – Lights Out
It’s time to recoup some energy for tomorrow’s activities!
During my time at HSD, I got to explore the world around me, learning to view things in a broader scope. I realized how, in the midst of different opinions, it was our responsibility as global citizens to find similarities and a solution. And within that process, I got to meet life-long friends who are just as passionate about helping the world.
If you’re interested in exploring new perspectives and culture while meeting new friends and having fun, apply! The application is open for sophomores and juniors until January 9th, consisting of a few essays and a personal interview. For more information, check out highschooldiplomats.com. I promise, these ten days will be the best ten days of your life. And if you have any more questions, come talk to me!
Us enjoying pizza during Diplomat Talks!
Us stretching during Rajio Taiso.
The entire HSD family, dressed in traditional Japanese clothes.