Since 1991 I have been the Coordinator of a Sister High School exchange with Katsura High School in Tsuru, Japan, and Beech and Hendersonville High Schools in Hendersonville, Tennessee. This past month another group of 26 students and 2 teachers from Katsura homestayed with students at BHS and HHS.
This program is my passion. I am known in Tsuru as the American Mother, since i have helped so many students visit our city - both for the 2-week exchange and for a longer 5-month exchange. The most remarkable part of this exchange is observing first-hand the transformation that takes place in the students' (both American and Japanese) hearts and minds. If all the world could participate in a homestay with another culture, there would be peace in the world. I believe that! It was Mother Teresa who said, when asked how everyday people throughout the world could bring peace to the world, "Go home and love your family." And that is what this program is all about...loving your family, which now includes another culture, a culture which is different but alike. I always tell the students, "Being different is not wrong; it is just different."