Host families needed for Tamagawa exchange program
By ELISA SAND, Staff Reporter
Local families looking for a cultural exchange opportunity have just that option later this summer.|
In two months a group of 14 students from Tamagawa University will arrive in Madison as part of a long-running exchange program. International Programs Coordinator Jacy Fry said host families are still needed for seven of the Japanese students.
This year's group arrives Aug. 2 for the two-week exchange program and depart for the Black Hills Aug. 17.
Fry said being a host family is a great opportunity especially for a family with young children.
"It opens their eyes to how big the world really is," she said. "And it's an opportunity to share with these students how a Midwestern American family is."
Fry said she hosted a student last year and it was a really great experience for her three-year-old daughter.
"She wanted to help with everything and compare it to how it was in Tokyo," Fry said of the exchange student.
Host families must have a bed available for the exchange student. Activities are scheduled with the students daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Dakota State University. Lunch is provided as well as transportation for off-site trips.
"If we arrive back after five, we bring them to the host family's home," Fry said.
The host families then have time on the weekends to provide the students with cultural experiences.
Some trips the students take while they're in Madison include a visit to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead near De Smet, Pipestone, Minn., and Sioux Falls. The students also spend a day at the St. Thomas Recreation Center on Lake Herman where they prepare American food and dine together.
The trip culminates with a big program Aug. 16 where the students host Japan Night. The evening features a traditional Japanese meal and a program organized by the students. Fry said the program gives students an opportunity to talk about Japan, school, traditions and customs.
Fry said students who participate in the exchange program look forward to the opportunity to learn English, have conversations with host families and learn about America.
The exchange program has been in place for 32 years. Fry said at first students came and stayed in the residence halls on campus during the week and spent weekends with host families, but students really enjoyed the host family experience.
"One of the attractive parts of the exchange program for them is the host family aspect," Fry said.
Stipends are available for participating host families.
For more information on being a host family contact Fry at 256-5744 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
©Madison Daily Leader 2013
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