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Nanjo City lures mainland students with community action involvement

Date Posted: 2008-06-06

School excursions to Okinawa have been a longtime tradition, but Nanjo City has developed a plan bringing mainland students up front and personal to its citizens.

Nanjo City, which has few hotels, has devised a program pairing students with residents in private homes. They say students and Okinawans like the program, which gives both opportunities to learn and have fun at the same time. Only two schools participated in the fledgling program last year, but 16 schools with 4,300 students have already visited Nanjo City this year.

One host home owner, Romo Terukina, provided a special dimension for visiting students. A fisherman, Terukina took the five students from his home aboard his boat on a fishing expedition. It was a first for the mainland students, who were excited about getting to fish. Nanjo City is introducing visiting students to the natural environment and culture, as well as area agriculture.

Nanjo City developed the program using private vendors in 2004. It has supported the vendors, and built a special building for students. With reservations already in hand for 6,500 students from 23 schools next academic year, Nanjo City is looking for more residents, at least 130, to participate in the program.

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