The FIA Adventure School (AS) began as a two-week ESL/Homestay/Cross Cultural + Ski program at Silver Star Mountain in Vernon, British Columbia. It was designed for a large multinational automotive parts manufacturer with affiliates now in 37 countries. The AS has now grown into a full year abroad with nearly 1, 000 participants since its inception. Programs have been based in Australia, the United States, England, and Canada. Each participant’s program is individually tailored; it is researched, planned and executed by each participant, in English, with the assistance of his or her counselor.
Most participants have majored in fields such as electrical, mechanical or computer engineering, or developing fields such as IT systems and robotics. Having graduated from Japanese universities with bachelors or masters degrees, most of them have developed varying degrees of English/foreigner “phobia” and find themselves ill-prepared
for life and work in an ever shrinking, more closely linked world where the ability to adapt, to use multiple languages, to network and solve problems creatively across cultures, is more important than ever.
Participants build their own individually customized experience-based program around an interest, hobby or skill they either have or wish to develop, or some skill they can pass on to others.
The sky is the limit during the year, but success or failure of each program depends entirely on the individual’s determination, effort and ability to persuade.
In effect, they are not just “learning English”, but “learning in English” – learning to learn from mistakes, learning to solve problems, to plan, to give and take, to adapt, to network, to create, to teach, to manage time and frustration, to laugh and cry in “classrooms without blackboards” all over the world. It is as much an “inner” adventure of self-discovery as it is an “outer” adventure in activities ranging from rugby to skiing to cooking to flower arrangement to African drumming.