Former AET Bridge to Exchange with U.S.Joyo City, Kyoto24 August 2016 - Local topics
Children in the sister cities of Joyo City and Vancouver, Washington, USA have begun interacting by sending each other pictures and photographs due to the support of an American man, who was formerly an assistant English teacher (AET) in Joyo City, Kyoto Prefecture, and is now a director of the "Friends of Vancouver," a citizen's organization to support these exchanges with the city of Vancouver. He said hopefully, "I want children to become interested in their sister city during childhood and continue these exchanges in their futures."
Andrew Bourdelais lives in Hirakawa, Joyo City, Kyoto Prefecture. He taught English as an AET mainly at junior high schools in Kyoto City from 1994 to 1998, and also served as an interpreter when the sister-city affiliation was concluded in 1995. In the wake of the sister-city 20th anniversary event last November, he made up his mind to start exchanges between the children of both cities.
On the US side, there were responses from two elementary schools, Roosevelt Elementary School and Walnut Grove Elementary School. In March, approximately 10 children aged from four to twelve, who are students of the English conversation school where Bourdelais is the headmaster as well as members of the "Friends of Vancouver," sent self-introductions with their names, ages, and favorite things, along with drawings of their favorite foods, to the two schools.
They received some pictures of the students' favorite foods and their self-introductions written on drawing paper from Roosevelt Elementary School, and some school lunch photographs accompanied with the menu written in English from Walnut Grove Elementary School. The students were interested in the differences in eating customs and enjoyed playing games using those materials, for instance, guessing the appropriate photo after reading a lunch menu, and so on.
They plan to send pictures and other things to the two elementary schools again in October and November. Bourdelais said, "I also hope the number of children who want to become members of the 'Friends of Vancouver' increases."(translated by Galileo, Inc.)