Japanese students attend a going-away event at Nanaimo Alliance Church this past summer after a homestay. (NICHOLAS PESCOD/News Bulletin file)

Nanaimo host families sought for incoming Japanese students

One hundred Japanese students coming to Nanaimo next month

Host families are needed for another group of Japanese high-school students who will be coming to Nanaimo next month.

One hundred students from the Fukushima Prefecture in Japan will be in the Harbour City from Dec. 1-4. During their stay, the Japanese students will participate in a Christmas party hosted by John Barsby Secondary School as well as attend classes at the school on their final day.

Christine Balatti, MLS Homestay coordinator for Nanaimo, said host families are needed ASAP for the incoming students, who are between the ages of 16-17.

Balatti, who has been a host parent in the past, said this Japanese homestay program has been going on in Nanaimo for 32 years now. She said for those families who have never hosted foreign students before, the experience is incredibly fulfilling.

“It’s a cross-cultural experience,” she said. “It’s introducing people from another culture to your family.”

Although the students are only in Nanaimo for a few days, Balatti said the connection can last a lifetime.

“They may only stay with you for one weekend but they will stay in touch with you and because of Facebook, they’re messaging all the time,” she said. “They will be in the middle of studying and they will send you all these messages. A lot of them are hoping to come back to study in university.”

Host families are expected to show the students around the area and expose them to Canadian activities, as the students are looking to experience Canadian life and culture. Host families will receive financial compensation. Interested families should contact MLI Homestay at 250-619-6605 before Nov. 17.



nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com

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