Konichiwa Amerika! Japanese Exchange Students Teach American Families about their Culture

Thanks to a long lasting winter in the northern part of the US, a group of students from Okinawa, Japan was able to experience a Winter Wonderland during their two week immersion program in Portland, Maine during March. The students, from Naha Kokusai High School, were participating in the Taste of American High School Program. During their stay they observed classes and gave presentations on Japanese culture to their American counterparts at Gray New Gloucester High School and Middle School in Gray, ME. They even were lucky enough to attend a school dance, and what’s a more momentous American high school experience than that?

When they weren’t busy taking part in the American high school experience, the group took full advantage of the snow! The snowy weather was quite a change for the Japanese students, as the weather in Okinawa is quite warm all year round. In order to make the most of this weather, the students and their host families went ice finishing, snowmobiling, built snowmen, and experienced all the best the snowy northeast has to offer! They also explored Boston and visited Cambridge to tour Harvard University.

The students all lived with local host families, which is an extremely important part of the immersion experience. Living with a host family, the student is thrown into learning about American culture firsthand. However, the benefits are mutual! The host families are able to learn a bit more about another culture and expand their view and understanding of the world. Host Mom and teacher at Gray New Gloucester Middle School, Suzanne Carbonneau, said about her student Diachi, “It has been a wonderful experience. Diachi plays with the 5th and 6th graders after school in the gym.  My seventh graders hi-five Diachi on the way out of the middle school.  One of my daughters is currently in New Zealand for a semester and the other heads to London this fall. It has been very worthwhile for my children to broaden their horizons to see new cultures.”  Suzanne is one of several host families who partook in the exchange. Another host, the Pam Edson, had this to say about her students, “Oh my word ..I am in love with my girls and they are precious, they adore my cats, and are so much fun…So glad I did this!!” All the host families had the chance to learn a bit more about Japanese culture from their students, all while helping the students experience American culture firsthand!

CCI Greenheart welcomes teenage students year round in many parts of the country. If you are interested in learning more about hosting a Short-term American Culture and ESL Student please see our host family inquiry page: http://www.cci-exchange.com/summer-hosting/