Some 24 students from Kyoto High School in Japan accompanied by their teacher arrived here on Nov. 30 to Dec. 3, 1999 to take part in a Cultural and Home Stay Exchange Program with Marianas High School students.
The exchange program, coordinated by THE Pacific Development Inc., gave the students a glimpse of the local people’s culture as they learned how to prepare mwarmwar and flower lei, weave baskets, make beads and play the unique Rocball sports. In return, they entertained the MHS students with a karate demonstration.
The Japanese students also had the opportunity to stay with local families for two nights where they experienced the warm and friendly island-style hospitality.
According to Cathy Sonoda from PDI’s Public Relations Department, the visit of students from Kyoto is a pilot program established between PDI, Kyoto and MHS.
Next year, Sonoda said they are expecting a larger group from Kyoto High School, thus they hope to receive the same support from the local community. “Coordinating this first Kyoto High School/MHS Cultural and Home Stay Exchange Program was very easy because there was overwhelming support from families who are eager to take in our visiting students,” Sonoda said.
“The Kyoto students had so much fun and most of them want to return here with their families while some have expressed their desire to work here,” said Gordon Marciano, PDI’s public relations staff.
The students were very pleased when they were later on given Saipan T-shirts courtesy of the House of Representatives. “They were so happy to learn that their visit did not go unnoticed by high ranking officials of the CNMI government,” Sonoda added.
Yoichi Matsumura, PDI general manager, expressed his appreciation to all the families who hosted the Kyoto students, Marianas Visitors Authority, Marianas High School, Doreen M. Tudela for ensuring that all arrangements were done accordingly and the House of Representatives for their support in making the program a success.