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Foreign students now study on Miyako Jima

Date Posted: 2006-04-15

Two Scandanavians are attracting attention in Miyako Jima City.

The tiny Miyako island is hosting two overseas students this year. Maija Ohman is from Finland, while Endoul Linus is from Sweden. The two are participating in an exchange program, YFU Okinawan Abroad Students Program.

Ohman and Linus, both 18, are spending a full year studying at Miyako Jimy City High School. It’s the first time the school has had foreign exchange students.

The YFU Okinawa program has been operating ten years, but students had been traveling to and from Okinawa for short term stays lasting not more than three weeks.

An official says it is sometimes difficult to locate families willing to house and host an overseas student for a year, but in this case found two. The pair arrived from Europe in mid-March. Linus said “I feel kind of strange for nodding with my head down. The life style is different.”

Maija is already embracing the Okinawa culture, saying the “nature is so pretty, and I love the foods with seafood.”

YFU’s Okinawa branch has brought 405 students to the islands over the past 20 years. Thirteen of those students are long-term guests, studying on Okinawa for a year. At the same time, Okinawa has sent 701 students to 14 different countries.

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