LIMA — Nine students from the sister city of Harima-cho, Japan, will get to take on Lima later this month.
Each year, the Lima Sister Cities Association sets up a trip for a delegation to visit its sister city, alternating countries each year. The group of students, ages 15 to 19, and three adults will be in the area Aug. 22 through 26.
Their itinerary includes stops at all of the Lima must-see spots, including ArtSpace/Lima to make tie-dye shirts, a tour of Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center, and of course, Kewpee.
“I think life if just different here than it is in Harima-cho, and we want them to experience the things we think are culturally good in our town,” said Sandra Liechty, of the Lima Sister Cities Association. “Kewpee is just a traditional place here in Lima. They are always very interested in having beef or hamburgers because they hear about it, and it’s an American thing.”
The delegation will stay with host families through the weekend of their trip. Liechty said some families have trips planned to show the students some other Ohio traditions, such as visiting Cedar Point or attending a Cleveland Indians game.
With the alternating schedule, Allen County students in grades 9 to 11 will have the chance to visit Harima-cho next summer. Those applications will be out in September, Liechty said, for the week-long trip set for June 2020.
Ardath Sunderland, also of the Sister Cities Association, said this program is beneficial because it opens up opportunities for the future.
“We have young people from the States who have gone to Japan who then decide to go into international politics or to become an English as a second language teacher, to study Japanese culture or go into business with Japanese companies,” she explained.
A prior student from Harima-cho shared with her host family and the association that because of her experience, she was contacted for a career opportunity.
“She studied hard, and two of the biggest airline companies in Japan approached her and asked her to work for them,” Sunderland shared. “It opened up a career for her, and the same thing can be said about our American kids. It allows them to catch a vision of what they want to do, and in this global society, we feel this is key.”
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.