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.

Japan Trip By Ava Kemper

This 2015 summer Japan trip was an incredible experience! We visited many amazing cities including Tokyo, Kyoto. Kizugawa and Osaka. Throughout the trip we stayed in a variation of places from hotels, to a youth training center and even a homestay. We got to try all kinds of Japanese food from hotel buffets, nice restaurants. vendors. and the soft served ice cream that was found everywhere. We took the subways, trains. the bullet train and buses every day for sightseeing. Our trip was filled with museums, aquariums, gardens, temples, shrines, parks, boat rides, and much more that we will never forget. 

During our stay in Kizugawa we had to play the important role of ambassador. We had the opportunity and responsibility to represent our school and our country. It was really fun and exciting to learn about Japanese culture and interact with other ambassadors, the mayor, students and many other people. I think we had a great group and left a great impression on our hosts. I hope we succeeded as ambassadors and continued to further strengthen the relationships between Future travelers should know that there's a lot of preparation involved with planning this trip. It’s a good idea to do some research beforehand, but lots of that is done in the group meetings held prior to the trip. It's also really important to be respectful, in any new culture. but especially Japan. For me this trip was exciting, adventurous, amazing, and an experience that I'll never forget. I highly recommend applying if you have the chance, and if not. someday visiting Japan on your own.

The Japan Cultural Exchange Program has been generously supported by the City of Santa Monica, the Santa Monica Science Magnet, and John Adams Middle School. Scholarships are available for those who apply.