VIDEO: Kurihara and Arnn Elementary School Cultural Exchange Program

VIDEO: Kurihara and Arnn Elementary School Cultural Exchange Program

by Daisuke Sato
U.S. Army Garrison - Japan

Nearly 120 students from Kurihara Elementary, a local Japanese elementary school, recently visited fifth graders at Arnn Elementary School on the U.S. Army's Sagamihara Family Housing Area, giving them an in-depth look at American student life. The visit was part of a recurring cultural exchange program between the two schools that has been taking place for more than a decade.

Once the Japanese students arrived at Arnn, they were welcomed with a musical performance from the U.S. Army Japan Band and Arnn's music club. The students then had introduction session and asked each other a series of questions in both English and Japanese.

After that, the students were divided into groups and took part in various activities, such as making Valentine's Day cards, playing Japanese chess, designing and building a computer program, solving math puzzles, and playing a musical game.

Kokoa Kawaguchi, Sixth Grader, Kurihara Elementary School I was very nervous at first that I wouldn't be able to communicate well with the American students. But as we spent more time together I realized they were cheerful, easy to speak with, and a lot of fun.

I'm sure I will have more opportunities to speak with foreigners when I become an adult, so today's experience will definitely help get past  that initial language barrier.

Seiji Hatano, Sixth Grader, Kurihara Elementary School It was a lot of fun and a different experience compared to when the Arnn students visited our school because this time, they were the hosts. My favorite part of today's visit was making the Valentine's Day cards.

I learned today the importance of putting myself in someone else's shoes-not just speaking, but also listening to what the other person is saying.

The unique cultural exchange gave the students at both schools the chance to learn about the importance of diversity and building positive bilateral relations between the U.S. and its host nation of Japan.

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