• Yamate Japanese Exchange Updates


    July 22, 2021 Update: Unfortunately Yamate Gakuin Schools has had to cancel the 2022 exchange due to a low vaccination rate in Japan at the time when travel plans/payments would have been needed by the school.  Updates for a potential 2023 exchange will be posted here.  If you would also like to receive updates via email, please message that to Kirsten Fitterer.


    Planning for a tentative exchange in 2022 has begun!

    • We are at the very beginning stages of working on an exchange in 2022.
      • Tentatively, Japanese students will visit Yakima from April 15-29, 2022.
      • Tentatively, YSD administrators would supervise a group of up to 40 students on a trip to Yokohama, Japan leaving Yakima Wednesday, July 20, 2022, returning Friday, August 5, 2022.
        • This trip does require funds from the student's family. Unfortunately, we do not know yet how much the airline tickets could be but we can report that historically, the family's pay around $2,000 (some partial scholarships available to YSD students).
        • Priority to apply to travel to Yokohama will be given to students who signed up and paid to go in 2020 and are still eligible to go in 2022 (incoming juniors 2021-22 if they signed up as incoming freshman for the 2020 trip), siblings of students who traveled on this exchange previously, students who host two Japanese students in April 2022, incoming YSD juniors, incoming juniors from other districts (with approval and verification of school liability coverage from their district superintendent), incoming YSD sophomores, incoming sophomores from other districts, incoming YSD freshman, incoming freshman from other districts.
    • For those from the (canceled) 2020 exchange:
      • If you have paid money for travel and:
        • You need a refund – fill out this form, include your receipt, sign it, and email it to fitterer.kirsten@ysd7.org (or deliver it to 104 N 4th Ave).
      • If you were going to host in April 2020:
        • The tentative dates to host in 2022 are Friday, April 15 through Friday, April 29, 2022.


    Question: When can I sign up to host two Japanese students in April 2022?

    Answer:  You can sign up now (and thank you! you will love it!) by filling out an application (link coming soon!), then bring it to 104 N 4th Ave with all adults in the household (so we can get copies of ID's to run background checks).

    Question: If I attend school in Prosser (in Benton County), can I request permission from my superintendent to travel with the Yakima group in 2022?

    Answer: No. You will need to contact Pasco High School who also coordinates a Yamate exchange.

    Question: Will I need to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to host or to travel to Japan?

    Answer: Although not confirmed 100%, it is looking like the partners are in agreement that all participants will need to be fully vaccinated in order to participate in this exchange (hosting and/or traveling). More details to follow.

    Question: If my family hosts two Japanese students in April and I apply to go to Japan in July, is it likely I will stay with the family of the students we hosted?

    Answer: It is quite unlikely that you would stay with the same family.  The exchange is very large with hundreds of students from different districts (from the U.S. and Canada) traveling to Yokohama at the same time.  Hosting is coordinated by Yamate Gakuin Schools far in advance.  You will get to see them however and likely spend time with them.

    Question: My incoming senior (class of 2022) missed the opportunity to travel to Japan in 2020 due to the pandemic and as I am reading here is not eligible to travel to Yokohama in July 2022.  What opportunities are there for him/her/them to be a part of this cultural event?

    Answer: We are heartbroken that this class missed the opportunity to travel to Yokohama in 2020 due to the pandemic. They certainly can host in April of 2022 (build friendships for a lifetime!).  As a one-time exception, the class of 2022 - assuming they are in good standing academically at the time - will be permitted to go on the three field trips normally reserved for the Japanese students only in April 2022. That will give our students some quality time to engage with the Japanese students.

    Question: Can family members apply to chaperone this trip?

    Answer: This is an emersion trip for your student. Not only can parents not chaperone, but they cannot visit their students in Japan while they are there.  This is not the time to plan a family trip.  Your child will be very busy with their Japanese family.

    Question: Is it safe for my child to travel to Japan?

    Answer: Japan is a very safe country.  And just like in April 2022 when you, teachers, and the Japanese chaperones watch over the Japanese students while they are in Yakima, the same structure is in place in Japan for your child.

    Question: How much space in my house do I need to have in order to host?

    Answer: This is much more flexible than you might think! They are teenagers who will just be so happy to be here and spend time with you that their accommodations are not a big deal! You will host two students of the same gender and they each need a bed or bedding to sleep on.  In Japan, space is tight so most American homes feel large to them.  They can definitely share a room.

    Question: Where do the students that I host go to high school?

    Answer: The preference, for ease of activities and field trips, is that they attend Davis or Eisenhower. Or, if you have a student in your household that attends high school in a different district, we just need to work with the principal and superintendent to make sure they can accommodate them at the school.  You will be responsible for their transport to and from school and to their required activities.

    Question: If I host two Japanese students, can they attend after-school sports and clubs with my child?

    Answer:  Most often the answer to this is yes. You will need to talk it over with the activity supervisor ahead of time. If it does not work out and you need the students to be occupied before they are picked up to go home, most high school libraries remain open after school and the Japanese students can go there.

    Question: If I host students and they become ill or injured what do I do?

    Answer: If it is an emergency, take the student to the emergency room and call the trip supervisor on the way.  If it is a minor illness, do not give them American over-the-counter medicines. They are much stronger than what they may take in Japan.  Call the trip supervisor who will connect the student with the Japanese supervisor to talk over a plan.