McMichael Middle School hosts 13 Japanese exchange students - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

McMichael Middle School hosts 13 Japanese exchange students


This week McMichael Middle School in Nacogdoches had a few more students than usual.

Lunch time at McMichael middle school means students refueling for the rest of the day taking a break from classes and catching up with friends, this week 13 Japanese exchange students joined them hoping to soak up the American culture.

"I want to study English more," said Mei Mori, Amami Exchange Student.

The exchange program started in 1995 every October students from Amami come to Nacogdoches and in May Nacogdoches students visit Japan.

 Exchange Sponsor Laurie Gallant says having the Amami students on campus gives her students the opportunity to interact with people from a different culture.

 "It just makes the world a little bit bigger, puts a face for a country," said Gallant.

Each student has a host family during their time here, 8th grader Grant Watson and his family are hosting Tomoya Inazwa,

 Both of the boys say they are discovering the differences and similarities in Japanese and American cultures.

"They don't walk in the house with shoes on," said Watson.

"McMichael has a cafeteria but Japan doesn't have cafeteria," said Inazwa.

Gallant says broadening their horizons now may help students figure out their futures. 

"Many of our students that go to Japan realize that I like the travel, I want to do international business," said Gallant.

And help students realize even though they are raised thousands of miles apart they can always find a common ground.

"American student, Japanese students many times act very much alike, they're not as different as we think," said Gallant.

The Amami students are leaving Monday afternoon, they will spend a couple of days at Disneyland before heading back to Japan.

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