120 Isesaki students visit Springfield, enjoy time with day hosts

120 Isesaki students visit Springfield, enjoy time with day hosts

120 students and 10 teachers from Yotsuba School in our sister city of Isesaki, Japan visited Springfield from Saturday, May 25-Monday, June 3, 2019 to participate in Missouri State University’s (MSU) Global Leadership Academy. Their time in Springfield was packed full of fun and educational activities.

The students visited senior centers where they collected stories and entertained as a choir; they toured the landfill and wastewater treatment plant; they volunteered at Crosslines Food Bank and Diaper Bank of the Ozarks (breaking a record for number of diapers packaged in a day: 58,000!); they toured Askinosie Chocolate where they learned about global issues surrounding chocolate; and they kicked off a Springfield Cardinal’s game by singing “Seasons of Love.”

The students also had the chance to visit the Battlefield Mall; explore Silver Dollar City; and participate in a variety of sports like basketball, rock climbing and table tennis.

The highlight of this annual visit is always a day spent with Springfield citizens. Local people (individuals, couples, families, etc.) signed up to include two or more Isesaki students in their plans from 8:30am-4:30pm on Saturday or Sunday. The groups did things like relaxing in local parks, bowling, mini golfing, viewing art at the Springfield Art Museum, and visiting local landmarks and tourist attractions.

If you’d like to host Isesaki students for a day this time next year, please let us know you’re interested. Hosts do not need knowledge of the Japanese language and they don’t need to plan extravagant activities. The students respond well to kindness in any language and they’re excited just to experience a typical day in the life of a Springfieldian.

Thank you to our friends at MSU’s English Language Institute for making this seventh annual program possible. Thank you also to the nine MSU student counselors and 16 Springfield high school students for helping to make this year fun and meaningful!

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