Foreigh exchange students from Japan

Feb 5th, 2004, 08:49 AM
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Foreigh exchange students from Japan

In August I will be hosting two male university students for three weeks while they will attending a local college. I have traveled to europe, but have no experience with Japan. I would welcome any suggestions that would help make there time here in Traverse City, Michigan a great experience.
Randy is offline  
Feb 6th, 2004, 06:41 AM
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What a great guy you are for hosting the students and for planning ahead.

I was an exchange student way back in 1977 (for one year to Belgium.) Looking back on it what I most enjoyed at the time and what is meaningful to me now are different. Don't worry too much that they are entertained. Different experiences are what will endure.

They will not know what they want to see or do. Show them around the local sights (and I bet they would love going to a big Fryes or Costco to wander.) They will want to bring back gifts for everyone and souvenir shopping will probably be important to them. Teaching them how to BBQ or make chocolate chip cookies might be fun. (Cooking is still probably very much a woman's domain in Japan.) Asking friends or neighbors to invite them over to see different households and meet different types of people are interesting. Taking them to work to have lunch to see what the workplace is like in American will be a change for them. Going to cultural events and museums will have staying power.
Camping and picnicing are very American. Playing golf is a real luxury. Rock climbing probably isn't very common.(Do you have an REI? I bet that would be interesting.) Three weeks will go fast.

I remember being very shy to speak and I am sure this will be true for them. Encourage conversation and insist they try. They will be so grateful if they can get over their embarassment. Hopefully they will bring photos of their hometown and family as a starting point. It would be nice to take lots of photos for a memory book that they can bring home.

It is a great experience on both sides.
Whatever you do will be appreciated!


kismet is offline  
Feb 6th, 2004, 04:06 PM
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Hi Randy- I have hosted exchange students on many occasions. We have had girls from japan or India, but the groups included boys from Japan which our friends have hosted.

The first thing is to figure out any house rules and let them know them up front--time limits in bathrooms, curfews, use of phone, how much notice if they will be needing rides, which food can they eat without asking, etc.

Japanese boys tend to be somewhat spoiled. Tell them if you expect them to wash their own clothes and show them how the machine works. Should they put their dishes in the dishwasher? where do dirty towels go, and should they use them more than once?

Japanese kids are usually totally unaware of street safety. Tell them which busses are safe, and areas to avoid.

We found that having a snack area- a designated shelf or refrigerator spot that is stocked with snacks makes it easy for them to feed themselves without having to ask you or starving cuz they're too polite to ask.

The Japanese kids really love outdoor activities- star gazing, especially if they're from Tokyo with no stars, is great. Camping, horseback riding, canoeing always are winners.

They love doing stuff with friends...let them invite a gang over for pizza and videos, or arrange a potluck at a beach or other outdoor park. They also love going to the movies as they are so cheap in the US.
A nice thing to do about halfway through the visit is to go out for sushi...even if it isn't up to japan standards, they'll still appreciate a taste of home!

Another really exciting thing is to take them to a big empty parking lot and teach them to drive your car. Many Japanese never drive, so it is quite an experience for them (and you!).

Japanese kids tend to not speak or understand English as well as they write and read. If something is really important, (such as a pick up time or directions) often writing it down will make it easier to understand.

Have fun! You have a chance to to make such a positive impression, and may make lifelong friends.
lcuy is offline  
Mar 12th, 2004, 08:59 AM
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Thank you for your replys. You all have given me a number of ideas and I am looking forward to this whole new experience.
Randy is offline  
Mar 12th, 2004, 09:27 AM
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Kismet, the idea for a photo memory book is fantastic. That will be easy to do with my digital computer and my computer.

Icuy, Thank you for your imput. I had not been thinging about many of the things you mentioned.

I have a cabin I can use in the wilderness area of Canada near Lake Superior and I was thinking of taking them there for a weekend. I have already checked with Canadian customs and all they will need is their passports -- a visa is not required.

Any more ideas would be welcome.
Randy is offline  
Mar 13th, 2004, 12:26 AM
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Hi Randy,
As a Japanese, I am very pleased to hear that you will host Japanese students.

They are Univ. students, so they can understand at least basic English.
But Japanese students have very limited experience of hearing English native people speak, so it is hard for them to understand. And politeness make them afraid of making mistake or asking repeat.
This is because Japanese tend to be thought they can not understand English even they graduated univ.

So, at the beginning, please speak to them slowly, and sometimes repeat.
They will get used to hearing and speaking English soon.

I had never been an excange student. But an American couple lived near my house in my childhood, and they treated me as if I am one of their children. That was great experience for me, and that made me open my eyes to the world.

Hope you and the students will have good time!
yathy is offline  
Mar 13th, 2004, 07:37 AM
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Thank you for your thoughts. My first trip to europe also opened my eyes to the world.
Randy is offline  
Mar 13th, 2004, 01:39 PM
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My son reecently returned from a year school in Japan (High School) the advice about safety is well founded. My son routinely took the train to Tokyo and returned alone late at night with no fear for his safety. Of course, at 6-3 he was bigger than most everyone else.
Japanese like shopping. Make sure to set a limit to internet use, especially if you have a pay-as-you-go plan. They will likely take their school work very seriously so try to schedule the fun stuff around that (unlike the way my son did it)
I'm sure you will have a rewarding experience. Good luck.
SamH is offline  
Mar 13th, 2004, 05:05 PM
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All these comments are appreciated. Thank you.
Randy is offline  

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