Japanese exchange students arrive, to attend ice cream social March 21


Exchange student Maika Saigoh chats with her host, freshman Claire McAllister

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The Japanese exchange students from Seikyo-Gakuen in Carmel’s sister city Kawachinagano, Japan arrived Wednesday evening where the hosting families and CHS administrators greeted them at a welcoming ceremony.

This is the 27th year of the program, which sends and accepts students on alternate years.

“It’s nearly as old as I am,” program coordinator Anna Swain said. Despite the long run of the Japanese exchange program, it is often not well-known at CHS. “I think a lot of times the staff and students at CHS don’t really know too much until they see our Japanese students here,” Swain said.

Swain encourages students to take this opportunity to share cultures with the exchange students.

“We want to encourage all the Carmel students and staff to be really welcoming to our host students. Make them feel comfortable; make them feel at home. Don’t be afraid to talk to them even if their English isn’t the best,” Swain said. “Say ‘hi’, just welcome them to our school. Because Seikyo-Gakuen is our sister school, we have this long-standing relationship with them. The Japanese students really want to know what it’s like to be American, so introduce yourself, be friendly, do the Carmel thing.”

While in Carmel, the exchange students will visit major locations in and around the city, including Carmel City Hall, downtown Carmel, and fire station 44.

“Friday we have our big field trip planned, both our Carmel students and our Seikyo students will go to downtown Indianapolis,” Swain said. “They’ll go ice skating, they’ll have lunch at the Spaghetti Factory, shopping at Circle Center mall, then the Pacers game.”

In an effort to help acclimate the Japanese students to the school, CHS is hosting a public ice cream social after school on March 21. Swain encourages students to attend. “We would invite anyone who is able to make it; we would be really excited to have them,” Swain said. “Don’t just look and turn away, introduce yourself.”

Students interested in joining the program for either traveling or hosting can contact Swain for more information. CHS is planning to send students to Japan in the summer of 2014.