This story recently appeared in the winter 2012 edition of Harker Quarterly.
Excited grade 6 students met their buddies from Harker’s sister school in Tokyo in mid-October. The meeting, between Harker’s 27 middle school students and the Tamagawa K-12 School & University students, was preceded by a get-acquainted video chat.
“The video conferences are fun events held on the Blackford campus where each Harker family is scheduled for 10 minutes to meet their child’s Japanese buddy and family. We have a translator present to assist with communication,” explained Jennifer Walrod, Harker’s director of global education.
The video conferences began with Harker students introducing their families and asking questions about what their buddies will want to see, do or eat while they are visiting at the end of October. The Japanese buddies also got to ask questions about their fast-approaching visit.
The Tamagawa students were at Harker for several days before heading off to Yosemite on Oct. 22 after a farewell party hosted on their behalf in the middle school’s multipurpose room. They stayed in homestays with their Harker buddies, sightseeing around the Bay Area, visiting special classes, observing middle school classes, and reading stories and doing origami projects with K-3 kids.
While participating in a special dance class held in the gym, the students said they were having fun getting to know one another and were still excited about an outing they had the day before, which included a visit to a pumpkin patch and haunted house.
The popular student exchange program between the Tamagawa and Harker schools is just one example of Harker’s rich global education program, which strives to weave global activities into its students’ daily lives. In the spring, Harker students will head to Japan as part of the reciprocal exchange program.