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Foreign Exchange Students Arrive in America

Japanese high school students fly in to experience American culture by living with Troy students and families for three weeks.

Japanese+foreign+exchange+students+arrive+at+the+airport.
Japanese foreign exchange students arrive at the airport.

Japanese foreign exchange students arrive at the airport.

Photo Courtesy of Kim Benbow

Photo Courtesy of Kim Benbow

Japanese foreign exchange students arrive at the airport.

Patti Kubota, Staff Writer

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On March 7, 13 high school exchange students flew in from Japan and were each paired with a student from Troy High to live with for three weeks. The objective of the host families is to make their exchange student feel like part of their family and to help them improve their English. Host students bring their exchange students around with them everywhere they go, including classes, sports practices and clubs.

Although some students had to make some adjustments in order to give their exchange students somewhere to sleep, others didn’t have to prepare as much.

“The only reason I can host is because I have a bunk bed in my room, so it’s pretty lucky that I do,” freshman Sunny Gronstad said.

Sophomore Katie Krell is also sharing a room with her exchange student.

“The student will be sleeping in their own bed, but they will be sharing a room with me since I have three other siblings in the house,” she said.

Japanese teacher Kim Benbow hopes that both the Japanese exchange students and his Japanese students will benefit both linguistically and socially from the experience. He likes to think of the host students and exchange students as brothers and sisters.

“I want young people from different cultures to get to know each other,” Benbow said.

Gronstad is hosting a 16-year-old girl named Mariko Miyake. He hopes to become good friends with Miyake by bringing her to different places around Michigan.

“I’d like to take them to the museums in Detroit,” Gronstad said. “I think that’s always fun. I’m super looking forward to just hanging out with her.”

Gronstad said he is nervous about how he will talk to her.

“I think my biggest fear is the language barrier,” he said.

Krell is also hosting a 16-year-old girl named Mano Kondo. Krell said she wants to bond with Kondo and get better at speaking Japanese by doing a variety of activities with her such as shopping, bowling and laser tag.

“I’m hosting this year because I thought it would be a new and exciting experience,” Krell said. “I get to meet new people and learn things about their culture and be able to improve my Japanese with someone native to the language.”

Although Krell is excited to host, she said she had a few concerns.

“What if they don’t like the food? What if they find their experience here boring? What if I accidentally say something insulting to them?” Krell said.

The students leave on March 25, but the host families will stay in touch with them after they fly back home to Japan.

Kim Benbow
Japanese foreign exchange students arrive at the airport.

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Foreign Exchange Students Arrive in America