Learning From Each Other: A Touching Experience from Our Program 

Hello everyone! This is the HelloWorld Host Team. This week we would like to share with you the touching experience of one of the students who joined our program, K. and his host family. 

Through the Machinaka Cultural Exchange Program, our amazing Host Families share their culture  and their daily life with Japanese students by welcoming them into their homes. However, it is also an opportunity for Host Families to learn about Japanese culture as well! If you want to read more about it, we suggest taking a look at our previous article “How Hosting Japanese Students Benefits Your Family”. 

What is the Machinaka Cultural Exchange Program?

The Machinaka Cultural Exchange Program offers a unique study abroad experience where participants visit host families in Japan and engage in activities like cooking, playing games, and more.

Many Japanese students are eager to learn languages and explore different cultures.

With nearly 100 host families from over 50 countries, they not only welcome these students but also get the chance to learn about Japanese culture by hosting Japanese guests.
Please find more details here.

Today, we would like to share with you another amazing story of how our program has allowed K. and his Host Family to learn more about each other’s culture, by bringing the world a little bit closer! 

K. is a 9 years old student that took part in our program back at the end of June 2023. His favorite subjects are music and English and he loves playing the drums! After the Exchange Program, once we all gathered to say goodbye, K. was always raising his hand to share enthusiastically about his weekend with the Host Family. However, K. was not the only one who had a great time, as his Host Family reached out as well to us and let us know how happy they were about the experience with K. Therefore, we decided to reach out to K. to ask him a little bit about his experience! 

“We are all humans. Regardless of being foreigners or Japanese we are all humans”

– What activities did you enjoy with your Host Family? 

The first day we spent it at home. The next day we went bowling and then on the last day we went to the Fire Station because the Host Dad is a Firefighter. When we went to the fire station I realized how heavy their clothes are! I had a lot of fun! I am an only child so I don’t hang out at home with other kids my age, so it was a really fun experience. I would really like to do it again, maybe a couple times a year. Next time I would like to be with a French or Italian family! 

Learning about Okinawa history

When we asked him if he managed to get close to his Host Family, K. replied affirmatively, but when asked if he managed to talk a lot in English with them he replied “Yes!” even more confidently.

K. was not the only one to learn something new during his stay. On his second day, he remembered how his teacher mentioned to him and his classmates to talk to their Host Families about Irei no Hi. On June 23th the Okinawa Memorial Day is celebrated to remember the lives lost during the Battle of Okinawa. On this day, K. mentioned this important cultural day to his Host Family, and together they decided to visit the place where the peace treaty of that battle was signed. 

His Host Family was moved by K.’s words as he commented that “We are all humans. Regardless of being foreigners or Japanese we are all humans”. After commemorating the important cultural day together, they enjoyed their rest of their time together, both Hosts and Guests definitely feeling like they brought the world a little bit closer. 

Growing up and the future 

His big dreams of going abroad definitely got bigger, and after going to the arcade center with his Host Family, he started getting interested in bikes as well, creating 3D models and designing every part by himself. 

When asked if he felt like this experience changed him a little bit, K. said that he didn’t perceive it much, however, his parents definitely did. They say he became more aware about things he usually would have to be more pushed to do, such as being prompt in helping around and cleaning the house by himself. After leaving the house by himself for the first time, K. definitely grew up a little bit. 

The team at HelloWorld will continue to support K. and his wonderful dreams, and we are grateful to him and his Host Family for sharing with us about the lovely time they spent together! We hope many more of you, both as Hosts and Guests, will join us to broaden your horizons and learn more with us