Japanese students from Furukawa Gakuen High School visited Ladysmith Secondary School for a weekend long cultural exchange.
The students and their teachers made the trip that included a 12 hour flight, busses, and a ferry ride to come see what life is like in Canada. Furukawa Gakuen students have been coming to the Nanaimo-Ladysmith area for 25 years.
“It provides a different perspective for students. We’re always interested in students seeing different cultures, and experiences,” LSS principal Dave Travers said.
35 students were hosted by families in Ladysmith. 85 students in total participated in the exchange. The students arrived Friday evening and got settled with their host families.
“A lot of families stepped up to host. We’re really appreciative of that, and appreciative for folks in Nanaimo for stepping up as well,” Travers said.
On Saturday, the students were treated to an evening showcasing Ladysmith talent, including performances by the LSS band and improv group. After the showcase, there were stations where the Japanese students could learn more about Canada.
“Santa Claus made an appearance, so students could get their picture taken with Santa. We also had a station where they could wear Canadian ideas, and Indigenous ideas, like lacrosse sticks, Canucks jerseys, hockey sticks, some Cowichan sweaters were worn, a beaver hat, Tim Hortons boxes. Everything you might find in a typical home in Canada,” Travers said.
Monday saw an assembly where LSS gifted Furukawa Gakuen High School an eagle print by John Marston. The Furukawa students performed dances, and were given a tour of LSS to see what courses are offered at a Canadian high school.
After the tour, the Furukawa students put on their own cultural stations to share their culture with Ladysmith students. They then catch a ferry back to Vancouver and fly to Japan on Tuesday.
Of the many years the schools have done the exchange, there has not been any opportunities for Nanaimo-Ladysmith students to visit Japan.