Oshima children join classes at E. C. Killin Elementary
By Lance Cpl. Daniel E. Valle
| Marine Corps Installations Pacific | January 15, 2013
CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan --
Students from Oshima Island, Kesennuma City, Miyagi prefecture, visited E. C. Killin Elementary School at Camp Foster Jan. 14 as part of the second annual youth cultural exchange program.
The program was created following the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami that occurred March 11, 2011, to give the children of Oshima Island an opportunity to enjoy their summer holiday in a stress-free environment after the disaster.
This year’s visit focused on Japanese and American children sharing their diverse cultures and learning from each other through several events, including the school visit.
During the visit, children from Oshima attended various classes such as art, physical education and a Japanese culture class with similar age American students.
“I really liked the drawing part of art class,” said Mizuki Oyama, a 12-year-old fifth-grader from Oshima Island. “I had a lot of fun at the school today, and I would like to come back to Okinawa and visit again.”
Not only did the Oshima children enjoy attending the American school, but the American children enjoyed hosting them as well, according to Ryuma Murphy, a 12-year-old fifth-grader at the school.
“It was good to have them in the class learning with us,” said Murphy. “The language barrier was tough for most of the students, but I speak Japanese, so I was able to translate and help with conversations.”
The staff at E. C. Killin Elementary School also enjoyed the visit and created a friendly atmosphere for the students from Oshima.
“I enjoyed having them participate in my class,” said Kaora Uza, the host nation culture teacher.
“They were a little shy at first, but they introduced themselves in English at the beginning of class and began to feel a little more comfortable. I wanted them to feel welcome while they stay in Okinawa.”
The youth cultural exchange program was hosted by Marine Corps Community Services, which hopes to have more students from Oshima Island visit Okinawa later this year to experience the culture of Okinawa and the Marine Corps.