Japanese students visit BSM

Japanese students visit BSM

Students from Kaisei Gakuin school in Japan visited BSM to gain experience of the American teenage culture.

Mallory Hoch, Staff Writer

5,000 miles away in the region of Hokkaido, Japan, students of the Kaisei Gakuin school rarely get the chance to experience American culture first hand. However, this year, for the third year in a row, the Japanese students have traveled to visit BSM, enabling them to experience a small taste of what Minnesota has to offer.

Kaisei Gakuin High, a Catholic school in Japan’s northern most island, Hokkaido, shares many similarities to BSM. “The school was founded through the Benedictine sisters and was originally an all boys school, which eventually turned co-ed,” said Mrs. Libette Guzman.

Stressing the importance of global awareness, BSM wanted to give their students a chance to experience a new culture. “The school mission is to educate global citizens, so we need to be innovative in ways of exposing our students to other cultures to have a better understanding,” said Mrs. Libette Guzman.

The students became connected to our school through a relationship between the principal of the Japanese school and the family of BSM alumnus Brittany Heag. Dr. Sue Skinner, the BSM principal, accepted the idea from Brittany’s father, Tom Haeg. “I am very happy the students could come; it was a great experience,” said Dr.Skinner.

Despite language barriers, host families found ways to get to know their foreign visitors. “It was fun to have a student stay with us, but she couldn’t speak much English so I had to use hand signals to talk with her,” said sophomore Katie Wolf.

Culture differences gave the students and their host families an opportunity to learn and gain new experiences. “Since they didn’t have any large convenience stores in Japan, we were able to take our student to Target for the first time,” said junior Jack Munkeby.

Mrs. Guzman was amazed at the effort and passion the Japanese students showed for their education when she visited their school last August. “The students are very committed with their academic and regular activities. When I compare [Japan] to other foreign countries, I see their passion and desire to improve their quality of life, not only for themselves, but also for other citizens,” said Mrs. Guzman.

Hoping to return to Japan in the future, Mrs. Guzman wants to organize a student trip to the school, which requires a great deal of planning, “We need to coordinate with both schools’ calendars since they start and end at different times. It’s possible that [it] can be a summer trip, but we also need to take into consideration the cost,” said Mrs. Guzman.