Japan Yakima exchange

Bailey Andrews, left, then a Naches Valley High School student, with a fellow exchange student and her Japanese host family when she went to Yokohama, Japan, as part of an exchange program between the Yakima School District and Yamate High School in 2014. The district is seeking host families for 80 Japanese students coming in April.

The Yakima School District will host students from Yamate Gakuin High School in Yokohama, Japan, in April in an exchange program that’s endured for nearly 50 years.

The district needs community members willing to serve as host families. It also has openings for Yakima-area students who want to travel to Yokohama in August.

Informational meetings are planned Tuesday at Yakima School District Central Services, 104 N. Fourth Ave., according to information from the district:

  • 5:30-6:15 p.m., meeting for people interested in being host families in April. Eighty students will be visiting from April 10-24. Each host family hosts two students.
  • 6:15-7 p.m., meeting for families with students interested in traveling to Japan. The trip is Aug. 7-21 and 19 students have applied, with 40 spots open. Students can be from any school district as long as their superintendent signs off.

Leaders from Yamate Gakuin School in Yokohama will be present to answer questions at the meetings. The exchange happens every three years.

Japanese language and culture is taught at Franklin Middle School and Davis High School. There is no language fluency requirement to participate in the exchange program. The final deadline for all paperwork and payments for the August trip is April 24. The cost of the trip to families is $2,000. The Yakima School District has raised money for five $500 scholarships for YSD students.

Find more information online at www.YakimaSchools.org/YamateExchange.