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4-H Japanese Exchange Students Arrive in
By Betsy Fradd, WSU Extension 4-H
After a ten hour flight with little or no sleep 43 Japanese youth were eager to play games, laugh, and experience life in Washington State.
The group, along with three adult chaperones, began their four week summer stay by getting acquainted with each other at the Dumas Bay Center in Federal Way. 4-H Extension Adventure Education Director Scott VanderWey showed the 12 – 17 year olds how playing tag, throwing balls, and catching Frisbees developed cooperation, communication, and decision-making abilities.
16-year old John Stiller from King County looks forward to hosting exchange student Yuta Umehara. “I like making new friends and expanding my horizons,” said John who went to Japan in eighth grade. “It’s fun to hear about their schools and what they like to do.”
Host families from 15 counties will give each youth a taste of their lives during their time here. Swimming, baseball games, and camping await many students. Travel, household responsibilities, family meals, and sightseeing are on the agenda as well.
“These youth come ready to experience life with their 4-H host families,” said Carol Beckman, WSU Extension Program Coordinator. “They have prepared, often for years, by studying English and our culture. They want to see how we live and what we do,” added Beckman.
While exchange students often know English quite well the language and cultural differences provide opportunities for growth, discovery, and rewarding relationships. Said Stiller, “Friendship is universal.”