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Japanese students arrive in Grand Forks for exchange program

Suzanne Crocker, a UND freshman, said she's always been interested in Japanese culture and wants to be a translator some day, so whether to host a student with her family this fall wasn't much of a question.

Leo Yaneyama (right) a homestay exchange student form Kanuma Japan and his Grand Forks host Logan Steen (left)
Leo Yaneyama (right) a homestay exchange student form Kanuma Japan and his Grand Forks host Logan Steen (left) attend a class together Wednesday at Red River High School in Grand Forks.JOHN STENNES/GRAND FORKS HERALD

Suzanne Crocker, a UND freshman, said she's always been interested in Japanese culture and wants to be a translator some day, so whether to host a student with her family this fall wasn't much of a question.

"You definitely get a different perspective on how they do things and how we do things," she said. "Some of the differences are really cool."

Crocker, who has visited Japan twice and is hosting a student for the second year in a row, was one of several attending a ceremony at Red River High School to welcome 15 exchange students from Kanuma, Japan.

Yutaka Matsuyama, the city's vice mayor, and a small group of education officials also attended.

The Japanese students, who arrived Tuesday, will visit several schools in Grand Forks and stay with host families for a week. But they'll also get a taste of other American pastimes such as a Cushman Classic football game and visit Itasca State Park in Minnesota, according to the school district.

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Through a translator, Matsuyama said he knew the students were excited but a bit nervous to be so far away from their families. Still, they all have high hopes they'll leave with good friendships, and that outweighs any fears they have, he said.

Several city and school officials also attended the ceremony, including Mayor Mike Brown and Grand Forks Superintendent Larry Nybladh.

The school district has participated in the exchange program since 1993, when students started a program with Awano, Japan. In 2005, Awano was annexed its neighbor Kanuma.

Call Johnson at (701) 787-6736, (800) 477-6572 ext. 1736 or send e-mail to jjohnson@gfherald.com .

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