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Bring the World to You: Host a Japanese Exchange Student

japanese guest on family vacationohio family visits Japan We have 'people' in Japan. People who have lived with us, vacationed with us, and treated us to tours of their home cities. We have people who mothered me during my pregnancy and attended my wedding. People who were foreign exchangees and are now family.

We met our people, Miyu, Naoko, Kaoko, Kristiina and more, through the Ohio 4-H International Program. Ohio 4-H has been arranging exchanges between Ohio families and a Japanese English language learning program called Labo for over 30 years. In 1993, my parents hosted a Japanese student for a month and went on to host several others, including Miyu for a year of her high school. After Alex and I were married and settled back to Ohio, we hosted three adult exchangees.

Naoko's Visit serpent mound ohio

The benefits to inviting exchangees into your home and having friends-like-family around the world are enormous:

  • World news and conflicts are viewed in a broad light.
  • Communications, during the homestay and after, must be creative to overcome the language difference.
  • Exposure to new games, ideas and foods make us grow as a family.
  • Our daughter is growing up with a global awareness borne of genuine concern for her friends in other countries.
  • Visiting local places with a foreigner allows you to experience them in a new way.
  • We have friends to visit in their homeland.

The Ohio 4-H Program is looking for families who can host students ages 11-17 this summer. The 4-H program provides training, support and some activities during the homestay while the host family supplies a bed, daily meals, and a host brother or sister of a similar age. All the details are on the Ohio 4-H International website.

Apply to be a host family today and bring the world to you this summer!