The visit to ESHS was one of several on the Japanese students’ tour through southern California that included stops at the U.S.S. Midway in San Diego and Universal Studios. The tour was coordinated through Technical Visits International (TVi) and Robin Espinoza, ESHS director of student activities. TVi assists international student groups in the planning and coordination of study tours and educational programs in the U.S. The Japanese students were accompanied by their school principal, teachers, and an American interpreter.
Each Japanese student was paired with an ASB officer who took him or her to three classes followed by lunch in the high school cafeteria. It took very little time for the teenagers to warm up to each other despite the language barrier. The pairs used Google Translate to communicate most of the time, although many of the visitors spoke some English. They laughed, played games, took pictures and shared social media account information to stay in touch! It was a great day sharing information about cultural, educational and social norms.
The Japanese students wanted to share a piece of their culture with ESHS students through a traditional tea ceremony. With five American students participating directly, the 20-minute ceremony was met with wonder and curiosity as all eyes were trained on the student wearing a traditional kimono who led the ceremony. “It was fascinating to see such an important part of Japanese culture being shared with ESHS students,” said Espinoza. “It is something they will never forget. My hope is that it will pique their interest in exploring more about the world around them near and far.”