Over the past 10 years Sand Lake, Mears and Dimond schools have collaborated with the International Society of Educational and Cultural Exchange (ISECE) to bring Japanese interns to work with the Immersion Program.
The internship program meets three essential needs within our program and learning community.
- First, interns increase the exposure of our students to the Japanese Language. An intern in nearly every classroom doubles the opportunities to interact and practice Japanese. Many interns also have backgrounds in education and act as a second teacher in the classroom. Students get more attention and this improves performance in all academic areas. The interns also provide tutoring services after school and enrich the Japanese cultural experience for the whole school.
- Second, families in our program get to experience a cultural exchange with individuals from Japan. Interns have developed lasting friendships with many families over the past 10 years. Some families or students have even had the opportunity to visit past interns in Japan.
- Finally, interns have the opportunity to experience American Culture and the American Education System. Several interns have pursued teaching in the United States as a result of their experience with our program, which increases the pool of Japanese teachers available.
Would your family benefit from hosting an intern?
Here are some of the many benefits of hosting a Japanese intern:
- Host families receive a first hand cultural experience with an intern who brings fresh Japanese perspectives and experiences.
- Students have an opportunity to practice conversational Japanese on a daily basis.
- While interns are not expected to provide tutoring to host families they very often pitch in to help with homework or projects up to 30 minutes a night.
- Parents and children gain an opportunity to work closely together welcoming and working with the intern.
- Many families say they have gained precious insights into their own culture by seeing it through the eyes of their intern.
- A large percentage of families who have hosted an intern come back for a second hosting after experiencing the fun and growth that comes through this unique opportunity.
What is required of a host family?
Hosting does have impacts on family life and it is not an arrangement to be entered into lightly, but the benefits are well worth it. In general, host families provide or should consider the following:
- The hosting experience is generally about 3 months in length though some have gone longer by mutual consent or to fulfill a need. The interns arrive at about the time that school begins and the first host family exchange occurs just after Thanksgiving. The second exchange occurs near the beginning of March. Host families should consider a timeline that works for them.
- Host families meet for an orientation meeting with host teachers. This orientation provides a checklist to improve the hosting experience.
- Your home doesn’t have to be large or ostentatious, but the intern must have a room for themselves. And your family doesn’t have to be perfect. Busy families should not consider themselves automatically excluded.
- Host families provide breakfast, lunch and dinner for the intern. This does not include paying for an intern to go out with friends. If, however, the host family invites the intern out, they cover the expense for a meal.
- Host families provide or arrange for rides to and from school. This is usually done at the same time that students are dropped off or picked up. Host families are encouraged to develop helpful carpools and the bus may be used where it is effective.
Above all, the host family must be committed to communicating and including the intern in family activities and, to some degree, planning. The most successful home stays have been those where time is taken each week to share a meal, go for a bike ride, or engage in a board game. Building understanding and enjoying time together is the key.
Families interested in hosting should contact Mr. Thompson at [email protected] or Mrs. Shrestha at [email protected]. They will be happy to provide more information and put you in touch with parents who have hosted so that you can make an informed decision.