29th Annual Middle School Sister City Delegation (August 2017)

The city of Fujiyoshida has sent a delegation of middle school students to our American sister city of Colorado Springs for nearly three decades. This year as in years past, our middle school delegation was welcomed to Colorado Springs community and participated in various exchanges with the local community. The most meaningful component of this exchange year after year is the homestay program. This year, with the relentless support of the Japan America Society of Southern Colorado, we were able to extend the homestay to full five nights in order to fully maximize on the limited time that our students get to spend with their host families. Though the homestays are understandably the most nerve wracking part of the trip for many of the students, most of whom who have never been abroad, in the end it is without fail the highlight for all.

This year as in years past, the trip was preceded with a month-long pre-departure training where the students were briefed on useful language and American culture. They learned phrases they could use throughout their travels and readied communication tools such as notebooks for drawing and writing when they couldn’t express themselves in words, and created photo albums filled with pictures of their daily lives in Fujiyoshida with accompanying English descriptions. These truly came in handy on site and certainly taught the group a lot about the different possibilities when it comes to communication. Many noted that communication, though something that might seem like something only possible through words is actually only a matter of having the will to express yourself and be understood in one way or another.

This year differed slightly from years past as it is also an anniversary year. Thanks yet again to the Japan America Society of Southern Colorado and the El Pomar Foundation, our delegation was able to participate in formal reception in honor of the occasion. Sharing that time with dignitaries and host families in such a stunning venue against the breathtaking backdrop of the Rockies was something the students will never forget.

For the third year in a row, Skyview Middle School of School District 49 was kind enough to open their doors to our delegation. The school visit is one of the only times outside of time spent with host families with children, when the delegation has an opportunity to interact with other middle schoolers. Students from Skyview MS paired off with members of our delegation and kindly and patiently showed them around the school and described life in America as a middle school student. Our delegation members were surprised by the level of independence that the American students exercise in their daily lives and the American students were shocked to learn the amount of time that Japanese middle school students spend on academics and club activities. It was truly an eye opening experience for all.

We are proud to be doing our part in promoting global consciousness and cultural awareness in the young people of our city and we are honored to partner with the Colorado Springs community in doing so.

29th Annual Middle School Sister City Delegation Itinerary

August 1 (Tuesday) Arrive at Denver International Airport
Sightseeing in Denver (Denver Art Museum, etc)
August 2 (Wednesday) To Colorado Springs
United States Airforce Academy
Garden of the Gods
Potluck BBQ welcome party with host families
August 4 (Friday) School visit at Skyview Middle School
Olympic Training Center
55th Anniversary Reception
August 5 (Saturday) Host family day
August 6 (Sunday) Host family day
Farewell party
August 7 (Monday)
Goodbyes with host families
Royal Gorge Bridge (Canon City)
August 8 (Tuesday) Depart Denver International Airport
August 9 (Wednesday) Arrive in Japan

At Garden of the Gods

At the summit of Pikes Peak

Using various communication tools to talk to each other during the school visit

At the tori gate in Colorado Springs, a symbol of enduring sister city relations throughout the years.

Inquiries about contents
Fujiyoshida Office of International Affairs
Address:1842 Shimoyoshida Fujiyoshida-shi Ymanashi