“Hamakko” Exchange Project Takes Place for the First Time in Yokohama

In November 2023, from Saturday 25th to Sunday 26th HelloWorld held in Yokohama the first iteration of the “Hamakko” Homestay Exchange Project, commissioned by the City of Yokohama as part of its 2023 “Hamakko” Exchange Project Outsourcing Agreement.

The event was aimed towards junior high students attending public institutions in Yokohama and saw the participation of 19 pupils, who were hosted in the homes of 8 international families with roots in 7 different countries, currently residing in Yokohama. 

About the Project

In preparation for the homestay experience, on November 25th 19 junior high students received from a specialized instructor a preliminary lecture to deepen their understanding of intercultural exchange. The Project then officially started with a Welcome Ceremony where the students met their assigned families for the first time: the Host Families were selected from international households residing within the City of Yokohama and were comprised of individuals with origins in Germany, Pakistan, Turkey, Lesotho, the United States and the Philippines

Together, they engaged in many activities connected to the culture of each family, from cooking, playing board games, practicing traditional dances and trying out new arts and crafts; by spending time with the Hosts, the participants not only got the chance to practice their English but they also experienced the cultures of numerous countries. 

On November 26th, the students and the families waved goodbye to each other at a Farewell Ceremony, that was followed up by a second, closing session to reflect back on the event and set goals for the future. For many participants, the Project played an important role in strengthening their passion for international exchange: it motivated them to continue their study of the English language and pursue future exchange programs abroad.

Comments from the Host Families

We like the concept of this program and hope that through this many children can get more open minded and spread their wings to fly and learn about the beautiful and diverse world. 

Every moment they spent in my house created cherished memories for our family. 

This program is very helpful for students to become more aware of different cultures around the world through meeting people from different countries and experiencing various activities themselves based on other people’s cultures and traditions.

External Links

Event Report with videos (from the City of Yokohama’s Official Website)▼


Video Reportage (YouTube)▼

Interviews to participants (YouTube)▼

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Yokohama Official City Bulletin, February 2024 Issue