Kyoto Students


Emilie Veazey, Journalist

Travelling all the way from Kyoto, Japan, 33 students temporarily became apart of the Ripon High School family. They arrived on October 10 along with the 17 host families and a spirited crowd. This has become a beloved annual program. It is the third consecutive year Ripon High has hosted the Kyoto students.

“I was so excited because I’ve had them [Kyoto students] before […] it’s just a super fun experience,” Senior McKenna Daley said enthusiastically.

When the Kyoto students arrived to the school they were gifted with a traditional Ripon High bead necklace, American candy, and many other items. The host families, like Daley’s, were very thrilled to meet their new temporary family member.

In the short time they were in America, the students were shown a small part of our little town of Ripon. They ventured outside of Ripon as well. On Friday, October 11, they were taken on a tour bus to many interesting places, including San Francisco and the Vintage Faire Mall.

Suzuka, one of the Kyoto students, explained that she loved shopping because of all the different brands like Sephora. Other students like  Fujishita mentioned that they were very surprised on how big our pizza sizes are. In Kyoto, they have very small pizzas, a little bit larger than the size of an average person’s hand.

“They [Kyoto students] liked it [pizza], they thought it was weird… and super good,” said Daley.

On Saturday and Sunday, the Kyoto students spent time with their host families. Some families went to Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, Six Flags, and other enjoyable places. This was a chance for the Kyoto students to experience places and activities they don’t get to experience where they live.

The Kyoto students went to school at Ripon High on Monday the 14th of October. They went through all of their host students’ classes and got to see the difference between American schools and schools in Kyoto.

That same day, Ripon High had their cultural exchange rally. The Kyoto students really pumped up the crowd by performing their cheering routine and dancing performance. Fujishita mentioned that she loved performing and that all the Ripon High students were very nice about their performance.

Ripon High hopes to get the opportunity to host the Kyoto Exchange Program again next year! This experience is not only impacting the Kyoto students, but the students of Ripon High as well. Everyone is learning about the different cultures the world has to offer and what it’s like to experience new things.

“I love the relationships that are built between cultures and knowing teenagers are the same across the board…the kids go back to Kyoto, talk about their experience in Ripon and the next class that comes through, those kids, their first choice is Ripon,”  Teacher Jill Mortenson said.”

— Jill Mortenson