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ERHS Students Exchange Culture with Japanese Sister School

Kyle del Villar, Video Manager

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The Japanese program at Eleanor Roosevelt High School for the past 10 years has had a tradition of hosting delegations of students from Japan, but this year, there was an interesting twist to this tradition. For this year’s cultural exchange, ERHS hosted the largest delegation of Japanese students in the state of Maryland.

The Japanese cultural  exchange program, organized by Mr. Tetsuo Ogawa and the Japanese National Honor Society (JNHS), was responsible for three separate Japanese student delegations (the largest delegation visiting in March) that visited ERHS throughout the year. While the Japanese students are in the United States, it is the responsibility of the host students to introduce them to various American attractions. These attractions include visiting Washington D.C., campus tours of various colleges, and sampling local food. Mr. Ogawa commented that, “We have such limited time to show the students around, so we really have to try and make the most of every minute.”

Aside from seeing famous locations around the DMV area, the Japanese students also get the opportunity to live with students who attend ERHS. The Japanese students live with their host families for the duration of their visit, and through which they experience the everyday life of an American student. Of the many students that had the exciting opportunity to host a student, Katie York, a senior at ERHS, seemed particularly excited. “I really liked getting the chance to host students and to be the one to introduce them to aspects of American culture,” she said. This portion of the Japanese culture exchange program is “the most important aspect of the program,” stated Mr. Ogawa, “because I don’t want the students to only have memories of the school and academics.” 

Although seeing the sights is an important aspect of the program, having the Japanese students observe and take part in ERHS academics and exchange information about how their life is lived on the other side of the world is the real heart of the program. Student John Carlo Calcutian commented that, “showing my student around my classes was cool and I’m sure he liked it.” The Japanese students follow their host students around for the duration of the school day and they are introduced in every class they participate in. “At first the students are shy but it’s our job as hosts to try and take some of the pressure away,” John Carlo stated, “We really try our best to make them feel comfortable in and outside the classroom.”

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Eleanor Roosevelt High School's Student-Run Newspaper
ERHS Students Exchange Culture with Japanese Sister School