Each year since 1994 (except during the COVID-19 pandemic), Daikin’s Homestay Program has given high school juniors from Lawrence and Morgan counties the life-changing opportunity to travel to Japan, where they stay in the homes of Daikin employees at the headquarters city of Osaka.
For 10 days, the thirteen American students are immersed in Japanese culture as it’s actually lived in the Kansai region on the island of Honshu.
As program participants will attest, it’s a journey that changes the perspectives of the high school students by exposing them to first-hand experiences more than 6,000 miles from home.
Tiffany Brasher Brightwell, President of Associated Builders and Contractors of North Alabama and an alumnus of Brewer High School, said the program she took part in back in 2000 kindled a desire to see more of the world.
“Participating in the Daikin Homestay program was truly an experience of a lifetime. Seeing the Japanese culture through the eyes of Daikin employees and their families sparked in me a desire to see as much of our world as possible,” Ms. Brightwell said.
She said she hopes to see the program, which has been in existence for a quarter of a century, continue for generations to come.
“It’s incredibly generous of the Daikin America team to extend the Homestay opportunity to local students, and I hope the program continues so many generations can share in the experience,” Ms. Brightwell said.
Other Daikin facilities in North America have created Homestay programs of their own.
Each March, Daikin Employees begin planning for the annual trip. Area schools are encouraged to participate and in April, program candidates are interviewed. Once selected, additional meetings help prepare them for what to expect from their eye-opening adventure.
In July, students are given a sendoff lunch before embarking on the trip. After they return, a second lunch event welcomes them home.
For more information on the Daikin Homestay Program, contact your school’s guidance counselor.