By Tatiana Garcia
Beaverton has said ‘sayōnara’ to our guest visitors from Japan, but before they left, I was able to catch an interview with them to talk about their stay here in America. For the past couple of weeks, Beaverton took part in hosting students from our Sister City program.
The Sister City program encourages cross-cultural understanding and promotes educational and economic exchange between our Sister Cities around the world. Apart from Japan, Beaverton also has Sister City ties with Russia, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany, and France.
Many of the students in Sister City programs get involved through way of their school, Fuwari Yogi comments on why she decided to join the program, “I’m interested in foreign countries and I’m also very interested in the English language. I want to be able to speak with English native speakers. I decided to join the program myself so I can see American schools, life, and culture.”
Maya Toya adds, “Through the program, I want to learn English and the difference between American culture and Japanese culture.”
When asking some of the exchange students what they most liked about America, many of them had the same answer. “American burgers, they’re so delicious,” says Chinatsu Ishihara. Unanimously they all agreed and went on to describe their first time trying a burger.
The Japanese students were quick to point out some differences from the education system in the U.S. and in Japan. Toya points out, “In the U.S.A., students have more classrooms, but in Japan, students don’t move classrooms, the teacher comes to them.” Also, “American students go to school by car or school bus. Japanese students go to school by train or by themselves,” Yogi adds.
Yogi and her friends seek to admire that American students have very original style, as back home in Japan, many of their schools require uniforms.
During the stay, they were thrilled to have completed their 4-week ESL/educational excursions in Oregon and were on their way home.
Bittersweet for many of them, Ishihara said, “I want to come back to Portland one more time.” Beaverton was honored to host the Japanese exchange students and give them a Beav-tastic farewell, until next time to our Sister City visitors.
Japanese exchange students gather to take a group photo. (Photo by Tatiana Garcia).