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Nice to meet you. I am Yuki Ayukawa, a JOI coordinator from Japan.
I was born and raised in Fukuoka, in the southern part of Japan. Fukuoka is famous for its delicious food and livable city. I love traveling around the world, outdoor activities (such as hiking), and yoga. I can’t wait to explore Wyoming and enjoy all the beautiful nature!
As a student, I joined a 2-week sister city cultural exchange program between my hometown and the United States. I also did a homestay in Malaysia through a cultural exchange program. Through these international experiences communicating with local people, I became interested in the cultures and people of the world and wanted to deepen my understanding. To expand my horizons, I decided to become an exchange student through a study abroad program in Texas for two semesters. As part of my volunteer activities, I had the opportunity to help students who were interested in Japan. Through teaching the Japanese language and sharing Japanese culture with those students, I gained a passion for introducing Japan to others. After several years of working at companies in Fukuoka and Tokyo, I decided to join the JOI program.
Starting in August 2022, I'll be based at the University of Wyoming’s Global Engagement Office for two years. So far, I am working on informal Japanese beginner classes via zoom and supporting the restart of the Japan club, which has been inactive during the pandemic. With regard to my future plans, I'll visit local schools and public libraries to give presentations on activities and events related to Japanese culture. I'll provide outreach not only to Laramie but also throughout the state, such as Cheyenne, Casper, Sheldon, Buffalo, and beyond. I look forward to meeting many people wherever I visit. Also, through my outreach, I will be looking to create business connections and exchange programs between Wyoming and Japan.
Although this JOI program marked its 20th anniversary last year 2021, I am the very first coordinator who has ever been assigned in Wyoming. I am so honored by that and want to treasure every single meeting I have during these two years. I hope I can contribute to the Wyoming communities and strengthen relationships with Japan in as many ways as I can.