Fort Worth Youth Ambassadors Visit Japan & Prepare for Reciprocal Exchange
Since 1990, The Harashin Co. of Nagaoka, Japan has funded scholarships for eight Fort Worth students and two teachers to travel there for an educational and cultural enrichment experience. In return, the families of these Fort Worth students host students and teachers from Nagaoka in their homes.
This program and all the scholarships have been funded by the Hara family and Harashin Co. Ltd. of Nagaoka. For 26 years, it is estimated that over $2 million has been generously donated.
Fort Worth Harashin scholars include: Henry Chao, Charlie Estes, Valeria Gutierrez, Zoe Nichols-Payne, Jamil Okada, Matthew Ontiveros, Janrose Samson, Shay Smith, and delegation leaders Liliana Hinojosa and Mikako Daniel.
“Exchange programs are a key element in the overall programs of Fort Worth Sister Cities and this unique opportunity for students is no exception,” said Johnny Campbell, Chairman of Fort Worth Sister Cities International. The students depart July 26 for a week-long exchange and the Japanese students will be in Fort Worth August 8-16.
On August 14, Fort Worth and Nagaoka Harashin scholars will visit Globe Life Park for Japan America Friendship Night with the Texas Rangers. The students and delegation leaders will have the opportunity to take part in a pre-game flag ceremony on the field.
All student applicants (9th-11th grades) participate in a vigorous selection process including teacher recommendations, essays and personal interviews. The Harashin Scholars are required to attend monthly cultural orientations to further enrich their international experience and prepare them for the exchange.
Exchanges with each of Fort Worth’s eight sister cities provide youth the opportunity to spend 9-15 days with an international host family and experience their history, culture and customs. These students become citizen diplomats through this program. It gives them a better understanding of other cultures providing them an international education only these programs can offer.