Students returned from Stony Plain's exchange program on July 16.
Stony Plain’s Japan exchange program was a success once again, as local students returned last Tuesday.
The trip saw students from the tri-region land in Tokyo on July 2, spend three days in Sapporo, and visit Shikaoi (Stony Plain's twin community) for the remainder of their stay.
Grade 10 student at Spruce Grove Composite High School, Gabrielle Wood, says Shikaoi was a lot like home.
“It was a little bit smaller, but you got a sense of community there. Everybody walking down the street kind of recognized who you were…people would always say ‘hi’ or give a little wave, so it was really cool,” she said.
Wood says one of her favorite parts of the trip was seeing the differences between high school in Canada versus in Japan. One major difference she saw was witnessing an entire class of grade 10 students involved in publicly performing a musical number.
“We decided that they would never be able to get our high schools to do that back here,” she said while laughing.
Wood says she looks forward to reversing the roles in the exchange when her family welcomes Shikaoi students into their home in the fall.
“My family is really excited to show them the traditional Thanksgiving meal and our festivities. We’ll [also] definitely want to take them to West Edmonton Mall and into Edmonton to show them some of the attractions,” she said.
Students are only able to participate in the exchange just once, but Wood says she hopes to join the Town’s Long Stay Volunteer program once she’s old enough.
The exchange program has taken place every year since 1987.