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Exchange offers students taste of Japan

City of Trail promotes sister city exchange with Sagamihara

Calling all students for the trip of a lifetime — the City of Trail and its sister city, Sagamihara, Japan, are again offering a cultural exchange for students aged 13 and up.

All transportation and accommodations in Japan will be provided by the sister city. Students will stay in pairs in the homes of Japanese people, seeing how they live, eating what they eat and enjoying the kind of recreational activities they do.

In addition, there will be bus tours to some of the tourist highlights in the Hakone region, outside Tokyo, as well as visits to Yokohama and Tokyo Disneyland.

“Students usually get to stay with two different Japanese families,” said organizer Diana Gonzalez, who will be leading the group. “That way, they get more than one experience.”

Gonzalez has joined the exchange to Japan twice in the past, along with her boys. She has also hosted Japanese students every time they’ve visited.

The trip is Oct. 13-25 and will cost $1,550 for the airfare, plus whatever amount of spending money a student wants to bring.

While all on-ground transportation, breakfasts, evening meals and some lunches are included, students should be prepared to pay for some meals, snacks and admission (about $60) to Disneyland.

“Past travellers have gotten by on anywhere from $300 to $500,” she said.

Since 1991, Trail and its sister city have enjoyed exchanges of students, teachers and other adults, both coming and going. Hosting up to 22 students and teachers from Japan has been an annual event.

Trips from Canadians to Japan have been less frequent, but over 500 people overall have benefited from the exchange program on both sides of the Pacific.

This has led to a number of young people going back to Japan to teach English and an equal number of Japanese students returning to English speaking countries to further their English studies. Many of them now work in high levels of commerce in Tokyo and other parts of the world.

An information meeting will be held at City Hall (side door) on Thursday at 7 p.m. For more information, contact Diana Gonzalez at 367-7325 or Lana Rodlie at 368-9227.