From Japan to Jup

On Jan. 11, four high school students from Kyoto, Japan, along with their teacher, shadowed Jupiter Environmental Research Field Studies Academy (JERSA) students at Jupiter High to experience a day in Warrior territory. This was the third year in a row Jupiter High students participated in the exchange program with Japan.

“I showed Shiho my classes and what is was like to be an American teenager going to an American public high school,” junior Jasmine Brashear said.

While visiting Jupiter, each Japanese student had the chance to experience American culture, education and activities. They followed their peers throughout the day, from classrooms to the lunch room, bonding with them and gaining information about American schooling.

During class, their peers informed them on what topic was being studied and provided help if they needed it. On Thursday evening, the Culinary Arts program hosted a dinner for the exchange students in the media center. When the day was over, Japanese students said their goodbyes and prepared for their trip to the Florida Everglades on Friday.

“Students are learning about habitat restoration and conservation, plant and animal identification and adaptions, impacts due to Hurricane Irma, community ecology, and identification and adaptions of organisms,” JERFSA teacher Kim Jalm said.

On Jan. 12, JERFSA and the exchange students travelled to the Everglades for a field trip to learn about the habitat and animals of the region. The students used the National Park as their classroom for the day; they asked questions and learned interesting things about the tropical wilderness. They were tasked with preparing a presentation for their school about the conservation methods that are used in the U.S. and the methods they would like to see implemented in Kyoto, Japan.

In previous years, the Japanese students stayed with host families. However, this year, students and their teacher stayed in former Coast Guard housing at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum.

“The [exchange] students stayed at lodging next to the Jupiter Lighthouse,” Jalm said. “From Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon they stayed with home-stay families.”