by Amanda Rollins, Japanese Language Program Coordinator
The auditorium at the JF Library sure was lively on January 14th! Over 100 Japanese students from Odate Homei High School (Akita), Kobe City Jr. Technical College (Hyogo), Izumi High School (Osaka), and Inage High School (Chiba) visited our offices during their 2-week visit to the U.S. This group was part of the massive KAKEHASHI Project, a youth exchange program promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) and co-organized by the Japan Foundation and the Laurasian Institution. Every year, 2,300 high schools students from America visit Japan and 2,300 Japanese students visit America. A daunting task to organize, but worth it!
This project was developed with the hope that high school students' interest in Japan/America will grow and they will develop a wider international perspective. If young people are made aware of the strengths and attractions of each country, overseas visitors will increase and economies will be stimulated.
Friendships between countries are built through person-to-person communication, and so KAKEHASHI makes it a point to organize visits to high schools where students sit down with each other and communicate face to face. With that in mind, we at JFLA decided to give the students a useful English lesson about how to befriend an American high school student. How do you make an international penpal when people use texts instead of pens? Through social media, of course!
A: Do you have a Twitter page?
B: Yeah! What's your Twitter name?