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Group Homestay Students Affected by Japan Tsunami Visit Oregon

CHI is thrilled for the second year in a row to welcome Japanese Group Homestay students from the Tomodachi/Coca-Cola program.  Tomodachi and Coca-Cola have partnered to arrange a homestay program for Japanese high school students from the areas affected by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The program was conceived with the idea of helping young students who might have otherwise missed out on these kinds of opportunities due to circumstances beyond their control.  They are provided the support they need to make their American group homestay dreams a reality.

On July 26th, CHI welcomed fifteen students to the beautiful state of Oregon.  The group participated in many fun activities including a trip to the coast, an afternoon of bowling, and a tour of the State Capitol in Salem.  One of the highlights of their visit came on August 1st, when the group visited with Hiroshi Furusawa, Consul General of Japan at the Consular Office of Japan in Portland, Oregon.

The visit was very emotional for the students as well as the staff of the Consular Office.  As the students shared their stores, hopes and dreams, many people were in tears. The spokeswoman for the exchange students, 17-year-old Ayaka Azumi, was asked, “what is your dream?”  She looked up at the ceiling thoughtfully and spoke in quiet English. “I want to be a foreign diplomat”.  Consul General Furusawa reached into his pocket and pulled out his business card.  Handing it to her, he said, “if I can ever help you with this dream, get in touch”.  His words brought ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from all the rest of the students.

Mr. Furusawa then proceeded to ask the other students their names, and went around and shook their hands and handed each of them his card.  He spoke briefly about doing well in school and learning English with great proficiency so that they could help foster continued development of Japanese/American relations.  He told them to seek out English speakers and practice, and to not give up on their dreams.

It was a wonderful visit for the Japanese exchange students.

Tomodachi Japanese group Tomodachi Japanese group Tomodachi Japanese group

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