Every summer about 1,000 Japanese children fly across the Pacific Ocean to live with an American or Canadian family for a month of friendship and discovery. Host families welcome their Japanese visitor as a family member — not as a tourist or guest. In this way, both sides can truly learn to understand one another.
One Pender County family is hosting a month-long exchange student from Japan through the LABO Exchange Program. The exchange program is designed for youth between the ages of 12 and 18. It offers young people an opportunity to learn the American way of life. The program is approximately four weeks long and begins in late July, coinciding with the summer break of the Japanese school year.
The Lucas Family is hosting Yui, a 12 year old Japanese girl from Toyama-shi. The Lucas Family includes Amy and Jeff along with their children, Sara and Baylen. The family resides in Hampstead, NC. The host family has been part of 4-H for quite some time and was eager to participate in this program!
Yui recently participated in a 4-H Surfing Camp held on July 28th at Surf City with 11 other 4-H’ers. She enjoys swimming, painting pictures, cooking, embroidery, and animals. When asked what the hardest adjustment has been for Yui, host mother Amy Lucas replied, “Definitely our food because our food is so different here. She cooked a meal for us and we really enjoyed the food and her cooking skills are great!” I also asked Mrs. Lucas what her family hopes to gain from this unique experience and she stated, “Really getting to know a child of a different culture broadens my children’s’ horizons of our global community. Also, at the same time, they can see that kids are kids no matter where they live.”
For more information on the 4-H international exchange program in Pender County, please contact the Cooperative Extension in Pender County at 910-259-1235.
The 4-H program is the youth education program of North Carolina Cooperative Extension, based at North Carolina State and North Carolina A&T State Universities. More than 218,000 young people between the ages of 5 and 19 participate in North Carolina 4-H activities each year with the help of 21,400 adult and youth volunteers.
– Written by Lauren Brown, Pender County 4-H Agent -