Findlay’s relationship with the Japanese city of Kawaguchi includes a high school student exchange program, where students can better learn about Japanese culture and language. Principal Ryan Imke is enthusiastic about what this program will offer to Findlay students as well as to Kawaguchi exchange students.
The planning stages
Imke, Findlay City Schools Superintendent Ed Kurt, and English as a Second Language Teacher Elizabeth Shank traveled to Kawaguchi last year to plan the exchange program, meeting with the superintendent of Kawaguchi’s schools and establishing relationships with educators. This summer, three additional delegates from Findlay will be hosted by the Kawaguchi as part of the developing relationship.
Two students from Kawaguchi will attend Findlay High school for the 2019-2020 school year; those students will arrive in August and attend classes here as sophomores.
The students, selected through an application and interview process in Kawaguchi, will stay with Findlay families throughout the school year.
A reciprocal opportunity
Kawaguchi High School will “reciprocate that opportunity (inviting) FHS students to travel there for the 2020-2021 school year,” Imke said. He noted that spending a year abroad will be a “tremendous learning experience” for students who are interested in international studies or international business. “This will provide a great opportunity to establish connections and a diverse experience.”
Imke said that students who are interested in applying for the exchange program in 2020 will participate in an application and interview process. Criteria will be announced this fall. Students need not be proficient in Japanese, but should be interested in learning the language. For students who are interested in learning Japanese now, Findlay High School has applied for a grant that may allow the school to begin offering Japanese as a language course. A number of local students have already begun to study the language on their own.