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Homestay students need homes to stay in on Peninsula

Japanese students arrive in May to visit Parkland secondary school in North Saanich

Students from the land of the rising sun are looking for a place in the city of gardens.

Japanese exchange students hope several families will open their homes to a cultural sharing experience for 16 and 17-year-old Japanese girls visiting Parkland secondary school May 10 to 13.

Muskoka Language International Home stay coordinator Kerry Williams, who believes the annual exchange is a benefit for both the student and the family, is convinced the  three-day visit is an opportunity for both sides to learn about a different culture from halfway across the world.

“It is a great way to share Canadian and Japanese culture,” Williams said. “The host families are like Canadian ambassadors showing the students the Canadian way of life.”

The students from Shizuoka Eiwa Girls’ School, a school founded by a Canadian missionary more than a century ago, are in town for only three days – and an honorarium of $30 per student per day is paid to the home stay host. However, Williams hopes potential hosts look at it more as an opportunity to meet and share friendships he hopes live far beyond the end of the visit.

“It can be a real bonding experience … They just enjoy being in a Canadian family and experience how we live … It is all to get a feeling with our culture and they go away from it with a better understanding of Canadian culture,” he said. “It is a great way to share Canadian culture, our open hearts and [share] our generosity.”

Anyone interested in hosting students can contact Williams at