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2015 KLI program comes to close

Hidekatsu  Higa, dean of the Kadena Language Institute, speaks to attendees of the2015 KLI farewell dinner Sept. 3 on Kadena Air Base, Japan. It is with the support of Higa that this program is made possible on Kadena Air Base. He expressed his gratitude toward Kadena for supporting the program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Lynette M. Rolen)

Hidekatsu Higa, dean of the Kadena Language Institute, speaks to attendees of the2015 KLI farewell dinner Sept. 3 on Kadena Air Base, Japan. It is with the support of Higa that this program is made possible on Kadena Air Base. He expressed his gratitude toward Kadena for supporting the program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Lynette M. Rolen)

Airi Medoruma, a Kadena Language Institute intern at the Airman and Family Readiness Center, speaks to attendees of the 2015 KLI farewell dinner Sept. 3 on Kadena Air Base, Japan. She spoke of remembering her first phone call and experiencing difficulties understanding the customers. With the help of fellow staff members, she grew to enjoy the internship and wants to learn more about the English language. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Lynette M. Rolen)

Airi Medoruma, a Kadena Language Institute intern at the Airman and Family Readiness Center, speaks to attendees of the 2015 KLI farewell dinner Sept. 3 on Kadena Air Base, Japan. She spoke of remembering her first phone call and experiencing difficulties understanding the customers. With the help of fellow staff members, she grew to enjoy the internship and wants to learn more about the English language. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Lynette M. Rolen)

U.S. Air Force Col. Debra Lovette speaks during the 2015 Kadena Language Institute farewell dinner Sept. 3 on Kadena Air Base, Japan. Lovette saw the interns on their first day and has seen a vast improvement in their self-confidence since their time in the program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Lynette M. Rolen)

U.S. Air Force Col. Debra Lovette speaks during the 2015 Kadena Language Institute farewell dinner Sept. 3 on Kadena Air Base, Japan. Lovette saw the interns on their first day and has seen a vast improvement in their self-confidence since their time in the program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Lynette M. Rolen)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Anticipation and a slight hint of sadness can be felt in the atmosphere of the room. Eager students, proud parents, coworkers and delighted leadership are all joyful for the accomplishments of their Kadena Language Institute internship program students.

Sept. 3 marked the end of the 2015 KLI internship program for 10 local Okinawan students.

The program provided them with the opportunity to apply what they have learned about the English language, experience English culture and interact with members of Kadena Air Base.

The program lasted four weeks and allowed the interns to work at various facilities on Kadena Air Base. Kadena has partnered with KLI for 16 years.

This year's program ended with a farewell dinner. During the dinner, each of the interns spoke about their time in the program. The leadership associated with this program was also present at the dinner. Of particular note were: Mayor Hiroshi Toyama of Kadena Town, Hidekatsu Higa, dean of KLI, Col. Debra Lovette, 18th Mission Support Group commander, and Col. Peter Pollock, 18th Force Support Squadron commander.

Mayor Toyama expressed his deep gratitude to the 18th Wing for supporting this program. He said it is a motivation for the students to begin great explorations.

Kohta Tokashiki, an intern at Kadena Outdoor Recreation, talked about how he was inspired to further learn the English language.

"During breaks, I would study my vocabulary," Tokashiki said. "When I first started working there, I had trouble understanding customers, but as I continued in the program and with the help of the staff, I slowly began to understand."

Tokashiki greatly enjoyed his internship and formed strong friendships with his coworkers. This is a great benefit of the KLI internship program. The interns not only got to learn the language, but they got to interact with Kadena staff and maintain friendships.  The Kadena Outdoor Recreation staff members Tokashiki worked with said that they are now the best of friends.

Many of the interns talked about how their relations with their coworkers made their experience more enjoyable. They mentioned that the support of the staff helped them throughout the program.

One particular intern, China Tamashiro, worked at the Telephone Operator Section. She was excited about this opportunity because she knew she was going to be helping people. The only anxiety she experienced was about understanding the English language. Her coworkers helped her and eased any concerns she had.

"I answered calls without fear because of them," said Tamashiro.

Because of the friendships formed and the professional guidance given to the KLI interns, this program is continued every year. The partnership between Kadena and KLI is made possible with the support of Hidekatsu Higa. Higa expressed his appreciation for the partnership and hopes that it can continue.

Lovette expressed her appreciation for the partnership as well and gave her final thoughts to the interns. She saw the interns when they first arrived on Kadena and observed growth in different areas of their life, such as communication skills and self-confidence.

"Given from what I've seen in the past four weeks, your futures are very bright," said Lovette.