Japanese homestay students Misa Shimuzu, left, and Seira Miyabe perform a dance at Nanaimo Alliance Church on Monday. Shimuzu and Miyabe are part of a group of 36 Japanese homestay students who spent the last two weeks in Nanaimo. (NICHOLAS PESCOD/NEWS BULLETIN)

Japanese students say goodbye to Nanaimo

Teen girls from Yamanashi had homestay visits in the Harbour City the past two weeks

Thirty-six Japanese homestay students said sayonara to the Harbour City during a going-away ceremony this week.

The students, all girls between the ages 14-17 from Yamanashi, a prefecture located 115 kilometres west of Tokyo, spent the last two weeks living with host families in Nanaimo and attending ESL classes at Nanaimo Alliance Church, which were taught by teachers from the Nanaimo school district. Their stay was orchestrated by MLI Homestay, an organization that brings students from around the world to Canada for various periods of time to help them improve their English.

During Monday’s ceremony, which took place at the church, the girls thanked their host families and teachers for their time in Canada, performed dance routines and were presented with completion certificates from Alex Brennan, one of their teachers.

“I am very thankful for my time here in Canada. I am thankful for the time I had here,” said Japanese student, Hikaru Sano told a crowd of about 100 people.

Speaking to the News Bulletin afterward, Sano, along with Rin Takahashi, Nozomi Wakao, Minori Miura and Iori Shiota said they really enjoyed their time in Canada. They said they had the opportunity visit places such as St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, Westwood Lake and Woodgrove Centre.

“Canada is a great place,” Shiota said. “My English is better now.”

The girls, all students enrolled at Yamanashi Eiwa College, said they learned a little bit about First Nations and Canadian history, were impressed with how many rabbits and deer they saw roaming around the city and enjoyed Nanaimo’s blend of urban life with nature.

Steve Crowhurst and his family were one of a number of Nanaimo families who hosted students this summer. His family hosted two girls and said the experience was great learning experience.

“Not having 15 year-olds at home, they taught me a lot about having teenagers,” Crowhurst said. “Regardless of where they’re from, we know that teenagers are the same whether they are from Japan or Canada.”

Crowhurst said he took his two students on short day trips to places like Parksville and Chemainus. He said he was surprised at how much his two students liked visiting the mall and going to Starbucks.

“Our girls really enjoyed shopping, more than anything else,” he said. “We’ve had other students before. Some students enjoy getting outdoors, some students enjoy sports, some students enjoy going for hikes and some students enjoy staying at home playing games. These girls, they could shop all day.”

The Crowhursts have been a host family five times before and said they love being able to forge relationships with people from all over the world.

“To make a relationship with a young person from Japan and to be able to carry that relationship even after they return home is so meaningful,” Crowhurst said. “It’s like having another member of the family.”

nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATED: Young deckhands backed out of fatal Arctic Fox II trip just before fishboat departed

Inexperienced twin brothers had ‘gut feeling’ and bailed before going to open ocean

Nanaimo’s Stone Soup association ordered to stop its backyard recycling

Wisteria association uses money raised to support its charity that feeds people on Wesley Street

Beefs & Bouquets, Aug. 12

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Nanaimo Art Gallery summer campers explore private, public spaces in new show

Dazzle Camouflage participants to unveil painting and video projects online next week

‘Unstoppable’ Nanaimo nurse recognized for work caring for survivors of assault

Island Health’s Aimee Falkenberg receives Canadian Forensic Nurses Association’s Visionary Award

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

More than $800,000 in suspected cocaine seized from ship near Victoria

RCMP Dive Team suspects more narcotics had been stored below ship’s waterline

Most Read