The Shinonome/Exploris exchange program began in 2000 as part of an ongoing collaboration between Eastern Carolina University and Hiroshima University. The program is designed as a cultural exchange as well as a school to school collaboration on student projects and learning.
As part of the exchange, a group of Exploris students and teachers travel to Hiroshima in the spring and a similar delegation from Shinonome arrives in Raleigh every August. Through home stays and visits to local historical and cultural sites, students learn about the cultures of the exchange country. They attend classes during the day; collaborating on projects concerning global issues that in the past have included water quality and world peace. Recently both schools took part in the international 100 People Project, a project that explores the diversity of the world by pairing personal stories with local demographics (see “Hiroshima” athttp://www.100people.org/videos.php). Traveling teachers from each school share lessons ranging from the Japanese tea ceremonies to Carl Sandburg poetry. The short, but intense visits reflect the school’s mission to engage students in building a connected, just, and sustainable world.
Exploris’ partnership with our sister school in GeFrees, Germany has forged strong lasting relationships for many participating in the program. The exchange with the Jacob Ellrod Schule in GeFrees, Germany was developed in 2006 when an Exploris faculty member traveled to Germany with the Goethe Institute. The partnership has grown each year and we now alternate years between hosting German students and sending an Exploris delegation to GeFrees in every 2 years. With each exchange, students and faculty learn about the German culture and explore our similarities and differences.
Over 3 weeks visiting Raleigh, the JES students and faculty and the Exploris hosts build relationships, see the sites, attend school and visit other schools in the area. The German students are immersed in typical American lifestyle while practicing their English speaking skills through regular conversations and formal presentations to other students. On the flipside of the exchange, the Exploris students are immersed in daily German life as they live with their German hosts. Exploris students attend school with their partners daily, present to other classes, and experience German sites, culture, and history through their host families. Many participants keep in touch and travel back and forth to visit for years after. The GeFrees partnership is a wonderful experience that develops life-long friendships, not only for the students participating, but the families as well. Your donation helps us continue fostering these unforgettable friendships.