Japan Exchange 2016

John Adams Middle School Sends Fifth Delegation of Students to Japan

12-Day Adventure is Part of Long Standing Exchange Program with City of Kizugawa

The Santa Monica Science Magnet at John Adams Middle School just sent its fifth delegation of students to Kizugawa, Japan this month for a 12-day adventure.  The Science Magnet has been part of a Cultural Exchange Program with the City of Kizugawa for the past 18 years.  For 18 summers we have hosted students from Japan for a weekend long homestay, where students have stayed with John Adams Middle School families to experience Santa Monica from an insider’s perspective.  Additionally, for the past 5 years, we have been sending JAMS Science Magnet Students to Japan to share in this cultural exchange and broaden their horizons.  

This year’s delegation included 11 students, three parent chaperones, and one teacher, Ms. Kristin Jurewicz.  They visited the Nature museum in Tokyo, beautiful Mt. Fuji, and the Golden Temple in Kyoto.  From their home base in our exchange city of Kizugawa, they rode the bullet train to visit nearby attractions such as the Osaka Aquarium and an enlightening visit at the Peace Museum in Hiroshima.  The Kizugawa city hosts also greeted the students with an official meeting with the Mayor, a traditional tea ceremony, and a visit to a local middle school.  The highlight of the trip was most certainly the graciousness and hospitality with which all the students were greeted by their host families, as they were delighted to each be matched to stay individually with a Japanese family.  During their homestay, they were immersed in Japanese culture and experienced life as a Japanese youth.  Many of our students returned from this trip with a newfound respect for others and a broader perspective about the world around them. One student said tearfully when leaving his host family, “As I lost sight of them, I knew I would never forget them, and I hope to come back soon to see them.  My experience at the homestay was amazing, and I hope I am just one of many Santa Monica students that gets to meet the wonderful people of Kizugawa.”

This wonderful educational experience was generously supported by grants from the City of Santa Monica, the Santa Monica Science Magnet, and John Adams Middle School.