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The Current

Bruins bond with sister school Kaisei

Host student Junior Catherine Desplancke sits in class with Japanese exchange student Nanami. Photo by Zach Fink.

Recently, several Japanese exchange students came to America for a week to experience high school culture in the United States.

Some students might not have realized, but Bear River has a sister school in Matsue, Japan. Every year, a few lucky students from Kaisei get the opportunity to travel and stay with Bruins for a short period of time.

“This is very exciting,” said Sophomore Nathan Wilson, before his experience. “My sister and I are hosting this girl named Hamaya Hinako, and we are very excited to learn about her culture.”

Senior Chandler Brown agreed with Wilson.

“Yes, I am very excited,” he stated. “Because it will be a new way for me to experience a different culture.”

Michele Harter, the coordinator, explained how the program began.

“The program began through CHI, Cultural Homestay International,” said Harter. “I’m confirming when Sister School Affiliation began, but I’ve been involved since 1999. My favorite part of the program is meeting exceptional young people from many nations. I like the tradition of the sister school relationship with Kaisei. We’ve actually hosted a student who later returned as a teacher from Kaisei!”

One of the Kaisei students shared his experience from here in America.

“Everyone here is so friendly, my host family was very nice,” said Kaisei student Naoto Iwata. “I enjoy eating tacos, and the sweets between classes.”

Another Kaisei student agreed with Iwata.

“For my first time being outside of Japan, America is very kind,” said Kaisei student Takuma Kamba. “The food is so big and delicious.”

Some of the host students wanted to help their exchange student experience America.

“We took him bowling, and took him to a basketball game,” Brown said. “He likes planes, so we took him on a small plane, because my dad is a pilot.”

Senior Madelyn Wilson also shared what she did with her student, Hamaya Hinako.

“We are going to a swing dance, and a mall,” she said. “When I have hosted before, they just wanted to see what it was like to be a teenager in America.”

Kaisei student Rina Tamaki explained what she enjoyed about America.

“When you enter a store, [they say] ‘Hello, how are you?’” said Tamaki. “In Japan, nothing. When we stay in hotels, we don’t get to experience the American conversations, whereas, in Homestay, we get to hear all of the conversations.”

Kaisei student Yuria Takino explained what she enjoyed.

“It was fun, there weren’t a lot of rules,” she said. “There were a lot of shops in the city, it was interesting because I have never traveled outside of Japan before.”

Harter gave some more information on her involvement with the program.

“Our family had hosted 4 times before, and I’ve been the teaching coordinator since 1999,” said Harter. “I’ve also been academic coordinator several times, which is the AYP academic year program where international students come to study for 1-2 semesters. BRHS has been temporary homes for students from France, Germany Belgium, Japan, Slovakia, etc.”

Tamaki explained her favorite part about America.

“The scenery in America was different then Japan, and it should have been fun,” said Tamaki. “I don’t miss Japan a lot, I like it here in America.”

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Bruins bond with sister school Kaisei