By Mike Davey
Kelowna, British Columbia – August 22, 2016 — It’s a relationship 25 years in the making. The first students from Toyota Technical College arrived at Okanagan College in 1992 for a summer program dedicated to collision repair training and improving their English skills.
Twenty-five years later, the relationship has only become stronger. This year saw a record 110 students from Toyota Technical College completing the program. In total, more than 1,000 students have been part of the program since it started in 1992.
Kazunori Ikeyama is the President of Toyota Technical College. He recently joined Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton at a special event to congratulate the participating students and offer thanks to the many instructors in both Japan and Canada who have helped to grow the program over the years.
“Today we celebrate and reflect on this great friendship and the many students it has benefited over the years,” Ikeyama said. “It is a program and a partnership that means a great deal to both institutions.”
Five years ago the two presidents celebrated the program’s 20th anniversary by planting a Japanese Cherry tree—or Sakura —at the Okanagan College campus in Kelowna, BC. The tree serves as a year-round reminder of the friendship between the two institutions.
“What started out as an educational partnership has become, in many ways, so much more,” Hamilton said. “The cross-cultural exchange that takes place has enriched our campus community tremendously over the years. The more than 1,000 students and the many teachers who have come here to learn about Canadian culture have been, and will continue to be, our honoured guests, friends, learners, and teachers.”
You can check out a video from the event in the player below. For more information on Okanagan College, please visit okanagan.bc.ca.