Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Who is going to Japan?

I received this letter the other day. Fill in [...] with a name I am withholding:

Dear Parents of [...]

Congratulations! [...] has been nominated to journey to Japan as a People to People Student Ambassador in the summer of 2009. This is an opportunity to join high school students from your area on a fascinating educational journey.

[...] can experience 14 days of rewarding activities and meet the people of Japan, all while earning high school or university credit. Your local delegation will represent the United States overseas, experience new cultures, and make lifelong friends. Success and confidence await [...] in rewarding activities like these:

  • Explore dramatic Mount Fuji, the spiritual symbol of Japan.
  • Experience the depth of Japan's heritage as you enter Tokyo's Meji Shrine, Asakusa Temple, and Nakamise Market.
  • Learn the art of the Japanese language and elevate your knowledge of Shinto when you ferry to a sacred island.
  • Challenge your knowledge and viewpoint at Hiroshima's Peace Park, a memorial to World War II.
Etc...

I must say I felt very honored about this nomination for [...] and was wondering who would have nominated [...]. So I called the local high school, who informed me that they nominate no one for such programs, especially a cat. Now I must say that my cat [...] is of an age that would qualify for high school, hence probably the confusion.

The high school also informed me that it does not give credit for such travel, which surely disappointed me, as my cat would have received a head start if I were to register it for next year's freshman class. That credit would have come at a steep price, though, about US$6000. So I think I'll pass on the opportunity and not use the personal invitation number.

3 comments:

Matt S. said...

People to People pretends to be a non-profit organization, but it is actually traded on the stock market. This operation is a huge scam. US$6000 for a two-week trip in a group is horrendous.

Anonymous said...

Not a scam at all do some research it was founded in 1952 by president Eisenhower. Go visit their YouTube group where you'll find over 1400 members and 300 videos of past participants enjoying thier experience then tell me it's a scam. Don't be ignorant.

consumer advocate said...

Anonymous: it is a scam. While the kids who go to travel generally enjoy the trip, the selection process is misleading at best: link.
This program is managed by a for-profit company indeed, Ambassador Group, whose stock is traded on NASDAQ. This explains the considerable markup of the price of the trip, which is never mentioned to the kids, who are under the impression that they are invited.