The Words of the Bikkal Family
About A New School In Japan
January 31, 2007
Dear brothers & sisters,
This is Nick Bikkal. I've been in Japan since 1993 and am preparing to open a support school here. As is the case with all families around the world, education of our blessed children, the inheritors and porters of our culture and traditions is a prime concern, and always in the back of our minds. Living in Japan these concerns are no different, and if anything, more acute since an island mentality is alive and well here, making 2nd generation youth with strong original minds more selective.
This translates into many young people feeling out of place in the school system; and more and more of them are opting out of it, but without quality guidance or alternate direction.
About 1,000 km west of Tokyo, in Fukuoka a pilot school was set up 4 years ago. However, no (UC-connected) school exists in the greater Tokyo area. This will be a first. Much interest has already been shown in this, our new school project. A blessed brother, a psychologist by training, helped set up the pilot school, and he is now assisting me with the one now being created.
Among the many ideas I have for the school, one is to give the option to these kids to go abroad on home-stays, work-study programs, etc.
A school year in a support school, which is legal and recognized by the government, requires only 96 hours of in-classroom study a school year. Taking 6 hours a week, one finishes the attendance requirements in only 16 weeks. This leaves a student 36 full weeks a year for full time dedication to activities of their choice. This can include preparing to enter a college in Japan, in the US (such as Bridgeport, the Unification Theological Seminary, or whatever), Korea, etc, or to pursue other career options of their choice. I'm looking for programs available for them that will help expand their horizons. If they have the choice from a variety of programs in many nations, that will only make this school more attractive. My idea is to open their minds, let them get exposure where possible, etc. I'm thinking farming, fishing, newspapers, construction, or any other type of activity. Some requirements would be the possibility for the student to make some money, enough to pay for his/her travel expenses, transportation, room and board, etc. Activities could be limited to the type of visas obtained.
What I'm seeking through this letter is contacts with programs that could be of interest to a teenager from Japan. My experience with young people going abroad on home stays is that they make life-long bonds. Many say they'd rather stay with their host families than come back home. Of course they'd be curious to see how brothers-in-faith live in other parts of the world.
If there is anyone interested and has a program they think would be of interest, please write to me. Tell me what you have available, and what dates are acceptable to you. As programs become available I will put them in a folder and present them to students inquiring about programs. Tell me what kind of person you'd accept, how many, and any other relevant information. If you have references, that will help, too.
In time I'd hope to reciprocate the services here, too.
Thank you for reading through this. I hope to bring hope and joy to some future leaders,
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