Changwon City Offers Student Exchange Program

A group of Japanese youngsters visited the southeastern city of Changwon for a week as part of an exchange program.

The Japanese students who came from Kure, a small city in Hiroshima Prefecture, had a chance to get along with Korean students in Changwon.

Participants for the program consisted of five students from each city.

Changwon and Kure have been sister cities since 1999. The annual exchange program offers students the chance to experience the different cultures of both cities.

Participants in this year's program were all female high school students. After the girls got to know each other they became close enough to hold hands.

"I'm not good at Japanese so at first we had difficulties communicating," a Korean student said. "After we talked about our mutual interests such as favorite K-pop stars, we soon became friends."

While staying at a Korean home, they learned how to write the Korean alphabet and cook traditional desserts. They also tried on Hanbok or traditional Korean dress.

Through this annual exchange program, the city welcomed a total of 253 students from Japan's Himeji, 40 students from Kure, and 37 students from Jacksonville, Florida.

To further expand the program and provide more diverse opportunities while promoting the city, Changwon has been offering homestay programs, a city official said.

Many students apply to the program each year and learn the language and culture.

englishnews@chosun.com / Aug. 18, 2014 11:28 KST