Every year, for the past 25 years, North High School (my alma mater) sends a group of kids to Kashiwa Municipal High School (where I work) for a week of cultural exchange.
This program has been near and dear to my heart ever since I was a kid...considering my older siblings all hosted students from Kashiwa back when they were in high school! I have very distinct memories of being a little 6 year old kid meeting my sister and brother's host students from Ichikashi...and then even more so when I hosted a girl, Rika, when I was a high school student.
So, to be on the Japanese end of things is very special. My office here in Kashiwa has been planning this trip for a while, and as one of the two Native English Teachers here, it is my job to make sure their time here goes as smoothly as possible. It was my third and final time hosting these kids and what made this year even more special was the fact that my cousin Danielle came with the group!!
26 American students.
25 Japanese students.
3 American teachers.
And one jam packed schedule.
The students were here Monday-Friday at school, and it was my job to ensure they knew the schedule, went to the right classes, and stayed organized. It reminded me a lot of my time working at Forest Home Summer Camp...that kind of non-stop-never-have-time-to-even-go-pee kind of business hahha! The students were able to do so many things at school : cook lunch together in home ec, take calligraphy class, do kendo, experience P.E, wear yukatas, and even go to Disney Sea!!
It was non stop every single day and a whole lot of fun. It was especially nice to see Mrs. Hart, who was my former teacher and now great friend. I felt so lucky the whole week to get the chance to be a part of this program and host a group from my high school and hometown **tears**
The week wrapped up with our farewell party on Thursday night, and sending off the NHS group at the airport Friday morning. I was crazy enough to schedule a trip to Korea on that Friday so I missed the farewells...but it ended up being good timing as I needed a break from all the school madness to clear my head a bit.
Well, that closes out my third year hosting the NHS group at Ichikashi. What a way to go out!