Nearly 100 Japanese high school exchange students visit Springfield in late May, early June, highlighting the Springfield Sister Cities Association’s three-decade relationship with Isesaki, Gunman Prefecture, Japan.
The students are attending a Missouri State University English Language Institute 10-day program, presented by the Global Studies program. The students have intensive English study in the mornings and focus on global issues and sharing cultures in the afternoons.
As part of their visit, the students present a free concert Tuesday, May 30, 5:30 p.m., at the Peace Through People Pavilion at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park, 2400 S. Scenic Ave., Springfield. The students will sing traditional Japanese folk songs and interact with local children. Bring your own lawn chairs or blankets to enjoy this show.
On Friday, June 2, 6:30 p.m., the students present Japan Culture Night at MSU’S Jim D. Morris Center for Continuing Education, 301 S. Jefferson. This family-friendly event includes a talent show, kimono fashion show, Japanese games and crafts and more. It’s free and open to the public.
On Saturday, June 3, and Sunday, June 4, the students spend a day with local host families, learning, in pairs, about typical American family life. Families meet students at MSU, then spend the day together, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., doing anything from making lunch to going shopping, playing in the park, planning an outing, visiting friends, eating ice cream — anything that demonstrates a typical family weekend in the Ozarks. Host families are still needed! The only requirements kindness and hospitality, hosts must be 18 or older and have enough seatbelts for everyone to travel around town. Minimum two/maximum six students per family. Register for one day or both, no overnights. No knowledge of Japanese language is required — students speak varying levels of English. To register to be a host family, click here . Another opportunity to serve as a host family comes in August.
The concert, the Japan Culture Night, and the host family days are presented in partnership with the MSU English Language Institute, the Springfield Sister City Association, the Springfield Regional Arts Council, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and the Springfield-Greene County Park Board.