More than 300 Japanese students began an eight-day Canadian adventure on Saturday, March 18, when they arrived at Langley Christian School (LCS) to stay with local families in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley
One of those families, Gina and Mario from Surrey, was waiting with big “Welcome to Canada” signs for their guest student as the visitors filed into the LCS gymnasium, all in their school uniforms.
Gina said their son, who is an only child, was looking forward to meeting their visitor.
“I have a son that’s 17 years old, the same age as the boy that is coming, so my son is excited, too,” Gina smiled.
The students filled the stands in the LCS gymnasium, waiting to be introduced to their host families.
Langley Township acting mayor Margaret Kunst welcomed the group, predicting “you’re going to have a wonderful time.”
Here until March 26th, the 321 teens, who are in Grades 10 and 11 from the Yamata Gakuin school in Japan, will be staying with local families, attending classes at LCS, and getting to know the area while working on their English skills.
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Their visit was arranged by MLI Homestays (Muskoka Language International), a Canadian organization that operates study tours and homestay programs in B.C., Alberta, Ontario and Quebec as well as the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
Planning for this trip started a year ago, when COVID was a bigger concern and the Japanese families had to decide where to have their teens visit. They were most interested in Canada, organizers said.
MLI program coordinator Christopher Ruddell greeted the students.
“I’d like to welcome you to Canada, and B.C.,” Ruddell said.
“Let’s just have fun for this week.”
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A few days before the Japanese students arrived, two groups of LCS high school students left for Europe, with stops in France and Spain.
A note on the school Facebook page asked readers to “keep them all in your prayers as they take this opportunity to practice their language skills and learn about other cultures.”
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