Two high school students from Saipan were able to visit Japan this year through a student exchange program of the Rotary Club.
Rotary Club of Saipan partnered with the Rotary Club of Tokyo Hachioji South for the Rotary Youth Exchange Project and was able to send Coleen Duenas of Marianas High School and Andrea Camacho of Kagman High School Interact Clubs last Jan. 18 to 24.
The two students were able to interact with Japanese students as well as attend Rotary meetings.
They also learned about cultural practices as well as practices in the education system and how it differs with the way schools are run in the commonwealth as included in their program was a visit and study at the international school “Keimei Gakuen,” a trip to the amusement park Fujikyu Highland and explored downtown Tokyo.
For Camacho, the trip was unforgettable as it was the first time that she left the CNMI.
“This is my first time I left the islands and the first time I ever touched snow. It was such euphoria to be in Japan. Words cannot describe how grateful I am and words cannot describe how big and foreign everything was,” Camacho said.
“Thank you for sending us for this wonderful experience,” she added.
Duenas echoed the sentiment and noted how warm the people in Japan were.
“It’s definitely a new experience for us and we enjoyed every moment of it,” Duenas said, “Everyone in Japan was really welcoming.”
Rotary president-elect Ivan Ilmov said the students from Japan will be coming to Saipan on April and Rotary will host them.
He added that this is the first time that they participated in the exchange program and that it was only short term.
Ilmov said they are looking at doing a month-long or a semester-long exchange program possibly next year.
Depending on their budget, they may send at least two students and noted that they can partner with other countries as well.