Share Your Thoughts: Exchange Programs


My father sent me this article from the Boston Globe the other day which talks about a Japanese baseball high school team coming to Massachusetts and spending a week with an American counterpart. It’s a wonderful example of how kids can learn and grow, made possible by a passion they collectively share. As I read the article, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the things kids discover.

In this day and age of technology, I always wonder if the low-tech exchange program that I grew up with would ultimately go away.

When I was growing up in the 1970-80’s, our high school in NJ had a sister high school in Japan. Every year, at least one student from each country would go to the other country. Given that we were one of the few Japanese families in our town, my parents were a big part of the program. We never hosted a student since it would make no sense for someone to come from Japan to stay with a Japanese family – where’s the benefit in that?

However, to help, we often had students come to our house and my friends and I would get to learn about life in Japan.  I do remember my family hosting a girl from France as my sister was taking French and I also recall my friends hosting a boy from Australia. I remember us bonding over a conversation about Porsche 928 cars, of all things. I wonder if he ever got his dream car – I certainly didn’t!

I was fortunate enough to have grown up with this. I fully understand I was lucky as not all families can do this. It’s a serious commitment. But if you can, have you ever thought about it? Does your school have exchange programs? 

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About the author -

Paul Kondo

Paul is a partner with Funderstanding. In his spare time, he spends way too much time talking about Breaking Bad, Sherlock, and reading Flipboard. At least he has broken his Words With Friends addiction.


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