Several Japanese exchange students are learning American culture by spending four days this week in Logan County.
Listen to Vicci Elder of the local International Friendship Center talk about the visiting students
Bellefontaine Mayor Adam Brannon and other local officials formally welcomed the jr. high to high school-aged students on Friday at the city offices.
The students are from the Bellefontaine International Friendship Center’s sister city of Suzuka, Japan; a city comparable to the size of Columbus.
The Japanese students performed a program Friday morning for officials that educated them on the differences between Japanese and American culture, specifically in schools.
The group also visited the high-tech Winner Dairy Farm just outside of Bellefontaine. The operation utilizes multiple robots to milk, feed, and clean their dairy cows. The experience allowed the students to see a unique side of American agriculture.
Other stops for the group’s activities on Friday included meeting with local youth at the new Bellefontaine Elementary School, a visit to Marmon Valley Farm, and a stop to see a local safari hunter’s collection.
The exchange students will spend Saturday doing activities with their host family. The students will leave Logan County early Monday morning.
The Japanese guests also visited Washington D.C. for two days prior to their arrival in Logan County.
Vicci Elder is the executive director of the Bellefontaine International Friendship Center. She says the annual occurrence continues to be exciting each year and that it’s a privilege to connect people from around the world with the local community.
She also touched on the opportunity for local jr. high and high school students to go on a similar trip to Japan in the summer of 2014. It is the first trip of it’s kind since 2004 and will allow a select group of local kids to learn and interact with Japanese culture.
Chico Nakano is the executive director of the Suzuka International Friendship Center. She says the students have worked very hard on the programs they have presented as well as their English speaking skills.
She says the trip each year is always interesting to see the difference cultures, especially between schools.
Listen to the advisor of the Japanese students, Chico Nakano, talk about the trip
The exchange program of bringing students from Japan to America started in 1986 and continues each year.
Local students who are interested in going on an exchange trip to Japan and experiencing Asian culture during the summer of 2014 are encouraged to contact the International Friendship Center either by phone at (937) 651-3032 or at their office inside the Logan County Chamber of Commerce, 100 South Main Street, Bellefontaine.
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Watch the visiting students perform their version of "Cups"