Japanese Students Pay Quick Visit to Stratford

Stratford students volunteered to host Japanese students overnight prior to their one-day visit to Stratford on March 16. The upper school students met their Japanese guests late Sunday afternoon at Stratford to share a pizza dinner and get to know each other before heading home for the night. The next morning found them on campus, ready for a full school day.

How much can someone really gain from a one-day visit?  The visit to Stratford is small part of a larger tour to the states.

“First, they go to Buffalo, NY and spend a week at a homestay.  Then, they come to Macon because YKK is a sponsoring agency of this trip and because of the Cherry Blossom Festival.  Finally, they go to Atlanta.  So, after it’s all said and done, the program as a whole isn’t just a one-day experience for the Japanese students,” Ms. Margaret Brogdon, Upper School Principal, clarified.

“This is not an exchange program in the sense that we don’t intend on having our students go back, but we’re definitely open to that if that opportunity arises,” Brogdon said.

Thomas Slocumb, junior, was one of the student’s who hosted a Japanese visitor .

“Given the amazing experience I had participating in the French exchange as a freshman, I will always be a huge proponent of student exchanges because I think they’re the absolute best way that you can utilize what your school has to offer to learn about the rest of the world while you’re still young and easily influenced,” Slocumb stated.

“I have the desire to learn all about Japanese cultural norms, Japanese language, Japanese politics, and what everyday is like for Japanese students.  I hope that my Japanese student gained the desire to make connections and the ability to be interested and open-minded enough to do it successfully,” Slocumb said.

“My exchange was such a great experience in every aspect.  My student, Takuto, and I had so much in common.  It’s amazing to think that if it hadn’t been for this opportunity, Takuto would have never really seen Macon.  He told me that of all the places he visited, Macon was his favorite because he got to know the people,” Slocumb reflected.

Junior Ally Parker  was also one of the student hosts.  “It went really well.  I loved my buddy, and we will definitely keep in touch.  Everyone enjoyed the dinner where we met them, and it was so cool hanging out with them afterwards,” Parker said.

“I’ve had such good experiences with the French exchange program that I want to have as many experiences as possible with different cultures,” Parker said.

“I hope to gain a cool experience, a fun day, and maybe even a friend.  We’ve been emailing back and forth, and she seems like a really interesting person.  I hope that the Japanese students gain a unique view of America, a friend, and a desire to come back here and explore more and maybe even study here,” Parker said.


The Japanese students performed a cultural dance for students.
The Japanese students performed a cultural dance for students.