School hosts sayonara party for exchange students 0

Dozens of local and Japanese students had the experience of a lifetime through a new exchange program involving students at George McDougall High School in Airdrie.

Named the Kakehashi Project, it gave Japanese students the opportunity to visit Alberta and stay with hosts in Airdrie for part of the 10 days they were in Canada, touring the province. The trip wrapped up with a farewell dinner at George McDougall, Jan. 11.

“This is the first time any of this kind of exchange has gone on,” said Jeff Casey, who has taught Japanese at George McDougall for about 15 years. “It was all expenses paid by the Japanese government for us to travel there and visit for 10 days.”

The local impact of the project was first seen in May, 2013, when 22 local students and three chaperones visited Japan for 10 days.

The January visit by 23 Japanese students and two chaperones was the reciprocal visit.

The Japanese government-sponsored project started out with neighbouring countries in Asia and expanded to Canada last year.

George McDougall and a school in St. Albert, were the second and third schools from Canada to be included in the program.

The school has participated in other exchanges with Japan, and students will be going to Yokohama in July.

More Japanese students will be visiting Alberta again in April of this year. They’ve been doing this trip every three years with some Calgary and Rocky View High Schools involved.

The visitors from Japan made the most of their time, taking in the scenery, tubing and skating at Lake Louise, seeing a Calgary Hitmen game, visiting city halls and museums and meeting Alberta’s Lt. Governor, Donald S. Ethell, in Edmonton.

“It was (an) honour to meet him,” said Japanese teacher chaperone, Shoko Michino, of the Lt. Governor.

The students shared Christmas gifts when they arrived with their host families in Airdrie.

They became friends during the Canadians trip to Japan last May and some of the students have kept in touch via Facebook and Twitter.

“Yes, I definitely want to go back,” said George McDougall student, Madison Dechief, adding that she’s currently studying Japanese.

She took her new friend for her first poutine and a Hitmen game against the Moose Jaw Warriors, which was perhaps a little too heated for her liking.

Casey, whose wife is from Japan, lived in the Asian country for four and a half years before he started teaching at George McDougall.

He taught English for three years and went to a Japanese language school for a year-and-a-half during his time in the country.

“I’d love to go back,” said George McDougall English teacher, Brooke Grosh,

“You make such strong connections with the people you stay with. They treat you as if you’re one of their own.”

The students, teachers and parents shared a lot of hugs, tears and quick photos before departing.

Grosh hugged Shoko Michino as she left for the bus that would take the Japanese crew to the hotel to rest for their flight the following morning.

“I promised my host family I would come back again,” said Japanese student, Yusei Akamatsu.

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School hosts sayonara party for exchange students 0
japanese language – Yahoo News Search Results
japanese language – Yahoo News Search Results

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