Justin Williams / from America オレゴン州
My family began working with the 4H exchange program when I was in elementary school. We hosted a boy from Chiba and although he was about 5 years older than me, we became good friends. Nearly every summer since then, we have hosted a youth or adult participant. My family enjoyed our experience so much, we decided we wanted to help more. The times we did not host were still spend helping with preparations, orientations, or activities with host families an their new family members. Although it can be hard work, my mother wanted to help find host families for the Japanese youth. For about 10 years she has been a coordinator on Central Oregon. She tries to find families that seem to have similar interests and hobbies. She also leads the preparation for the Oregon youth coming to Japan. My older brother also wanted to help with the program, so recently he began working as the leader of the summer exchange program between Japan and Oregon. My younger brothers and I help every year with the orientation camp for the students coming from Japan. While my father is busy with work, he always finds time to go camping and hiking with ore new friends.
When we first became interested in the program my older brother only wanted to make a friend from another country. Like the other host families, we love getting to know new people from other countries and sharing about our culture with them. We love experiencing things like sports, games, meeting friends, sightseeing, having BBQ’s playing with our pets, and just enjoying life together. At first, I was too young too really be interested in a lot of cultural learning, but I always enjoyed seeing new thing s brought from Japan. Little by little, I came to appreciate all the differences in culture that I know can see.
Although it is always sad when they must leave, we are happy that we were able to become friends. The last day in Oregon, everyone stays in a dormitory. We are always happy to share the wonderful experiences we have had. It is interesting to see that those who had the best experiences are not those who speak the most English, but those who try to use what they can and really try to be a family.