City seeks hosts for Japanese exchange students

The City of Whitehorse is looking for families to host Japanese students for two weeks this summer as part of its Sister City Exchange Program with Ushiku, Japan.

The City of Whitehorse is looking for families to host Japanese students for two weeks this summer as part of its Sister City Exchange Program with Ushiku, Japan.

Twelve students, aged 13 to 18, will be staying in Whitehorse from July 24 to August 3.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the program, which also sends students from Whitehorse to Ushiku every other year. The Japanese exchange students will get to participate in a number of activities with teens in their host families, including camping, canoeing, and hiking.

“It’s a cultural sharing. Think of it like a cultural experience in your own town,” said Lindsay Agar, an event coordinator with the city.

Brooke Peters, 17, has participated in the program for the last two years. In 2013, her family hosted students for the first time.

“Last time they came, I was really nervous,” she said. “But within three days, they were in our family. You just get so attached to them. It’s like they are your family.”

Peters went to Japan last year, where she visited local schools and helped with English classes.

“I think it’s a good thing because you get to go and learn about a different culture,” she said. “We got to see firsthand how it was, and I think that gives good perspective.”

Her family will be hosting two students again this year.

The city will cover the cost of weekday activities and transportation during the exchange. Host families are expected to provide meals and accommodation.

Anyone interested in hosting should visit whitehorse.ca/ushiku.

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