The Nikkei Community Internship is an 8-week program designed to promote awareness of the 3 remaining Japantowns(San Jose, Los Angeles, San Francisco) and get youth more involved in the Japanese American community. The program originated in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and only recently did San Jose join. The San Jose NCI program, now in it’s third year, is structured into 8 themed weeks. Each week, the interns are placed with a different supervisor who will set up interviews with community leaders and members. Depending on the week, interns may also volunteer at different community-based organizations, such as Yu-Ai Kai or Lotus Preschool. One day of the week is reserved for leadership training, during which all of the Norcal interns gather for workshops and meetings with community leaders. Interns attend 3 state-wide retreats, one in each Japantown, during which both the Socal and Norcal interns meet and work together.
“NCI has been one of the best experiences we’ve had. These past 8 weeks have given us new friendships, new experiences, and a new appreciation for the Japantown community. We liked the San Jose NCI setup because it allowed us to see all aspects of the community, adding to our overall experience. We’ve had a lot of fun throughout this internship, but more importantly, we’ve come to realize that San Jose Japantown is a place we can come back to and call home.”
-Kyle Ichikawa and Alex Lim, San Jose NCI Interns 2011