One students experience from this years trip
Comments from Alicia....
"My first time meeting the family, we greeted them in Japanese. They seemed surprised but also happy that we were willing to try greeting them in their own language. They ushered us towards their car and took us to the home that we would be staying in for the next two weeks and allowed us to choose which one of us would be taking the tatami mat on the floor and the bed. The other girl I was staying with chose the tatami mat while I chose the bed. The pillow was made up of beads and was hard, not something I was used to, but I did at some point during the trip become comfortable with it.
We went on many trips that were organized through the exchange program but also participated in family trips. The mother and father did work while we were there and on their days off they took us out. We went to a black sand beach a few times and waded out into the water as well we went swimming. They also took us out to a concert that had a fireworks show where we were able to wear the yukatas we were given.
The family also rented movies for us and set it up so it had English subtitles which I found was very considerate for us. When we had first arrived, we were told to call them Okaasan and Otousan, which means 'mother' and 'father' respectively. It was a great time while we were there. We were even taken to a karaoke tower. They have an entire tower which is dedicated to singing karaoke! It was a wonderful trip and I recommend anyone that can, to go.