News for Wildcats, by Wildcats.

The Paw Print

News for Wildcats, by Wildcats.

The Paw Print

News for Wildcats, by Wildcats.

The Paw Print

West hosts exchange student from Japan through sister cities committee

Makinzee Boyer
Sana Ohashi is this year’s foreign exchange student through the Bloomington-Normal Japan Sister Cities Program.

Bloomington Normal Asahikawa sister cities committee gives students a new cultural opportunity.

In the 1960s, Bloomington-Normal and Asahikawa, Japan became sister cities because of their similar economies and differing cultures.

Today, they also share exchange students.

The current chairman of the sister cities organization is an English teacher here at Normal West, Mr. Jeffrey Kroesch.

As chairman, Kroesch works with people in Asahikawa to organize students from Japan coming here and going to Japan for an exchange year. There are also community events and a celebration every five years to bring the Bloomington Normal and Asahikawa communities together.

“Being an exchange student and learning about a foreign culture just broadens who you are as a person,” Kroesch notes about the benefits of being in the program.

“Immersing yourself in a different culture can help your foreign language skills and help build friendships with others from different backgrounds,” he adds.

Kroesch became passionate about this program when he participated in it as a teenager.

“Just connecting with all those different cultures in our exchange program really changed my life” Kroesch said about his experiences as an exchange student in Japan.

This year’s exchange student, Sana Ohashi has been here all school year. She mentions that school is pretty similar between the two countries, but that her Japan school did not have a homeroom.

When asked about what people would enjoy about being an exchange student, Ohashi said, “It depends on the person and what they like.”

This summer the Bloomington Normal Asahikawa sister cities committee is hosting a 10 day exchange trip to Asahikawa with applications available on their website.

For more information about this trip and the committee you can visit their website

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