Youth experience global education in Japan

Youth benefit from living with a Japanese family for one month, gaining an international education and enhancing their foreign language skills.

Youth from seven Michigan counties will experience Japan this summer through the Michigan 4-H - Japanese Labo exchange program. Youth from Houghton, Mackinac, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Iosco and Livingston Counties will leave in July for the adventure of a lifetime. Most will spend one month with host families to learn about everyday family life and Japanese culture. Labo, the Michigan 4-H partner in this exchange, is a Japanese language education program. They are also a part of the States’ 4-H International Exchange program.  

In addition to the month-long stay, a three week intensive introduction to the Japanese language study program is available through the Labo Nihongo program. One Mackinac county youth left in June for this homestay program in the Tokyo area. This is offered by the Labo Japanese Language Research Institute. The program includes classroom study along with experiential learning and a homestay. Nihongo provides a fun and innovative way to learn the Japanese language. The word “Nihongo” means “Japanese language.”

According to the National Research Council, “Studying a foreign language helps students understand English grammar better and improves their overall communication and problem-solving skills. Beyond the intellectual benefits, knowledge of a foreign language facilitates travel, enhances career opportunities and enables one to learn more about different peoples and cultures.”

The month-long exchange can spark or enhance an interest in learning a second language and begin the process of gaining a global perspective to life. A global perspective involves taking a broad view of the world and trying to understand the lives, issues and cultures to which we are connected.

For more information on the variety of travel and hosting opportunities available through Michigan 4-H, visit the Michigan International Exchange.

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