Students from Japan visit NPHS

Students from Japan visit NPHS

North Providence High School 10th-grader Tony Azevedo gestures to his partner, Taiki Nomura, of Fuji City, Japan, during lunch. The Japanese students visited NPHS to learn about American culture. (Breeze photos by Nicole Dotzenrod)

NORTH PROVIDENCE – For the third consecutive year, North Providence High School was selected to host a group of students and teachers from a high school in Fuji City, Japan, in December.

During the event, North Providence social studies students were paired with sophomores from Fuji City who are involved in a Global Leaders Program. In addition to visiting an American high school, participants in the program attend classes at Harvard University, practice the English language, learn about American culture and build leadership skills.

Crystal Bozigian, chair of the social studies department in North Providence, said the group of NPHS student “ambassadors” is made up of leaders from the 10th and 11th grades who are involved with various extracurricular activities and “demonstrate kindness to their peers daily.”

“Our ambassadors were excited to share all of the incredible aspects of our school and town,” Bozigian said. “They were passionate about their school, excited to take the visitors around from class to class and provided the necessary support to their new Japanese friends trying to learn our language and culture.”

Upon meeting, Bozigian said, students exchanged welcome and “thank you” gifts, then got to know one another over breakfast. They traveled to classes together, played games like volleyball and basketball and watched performances by the drama club, band and chorus.

Bozigian said that what most impressed her was that “despite the language and cultural barriers, the only thing that mattered was that everyone had a smile on their face, the universal sign of happiness and kindness shared while making memories together.”

NPHS 11th-grader Ashley Picard said she used hand gestures to overcome the language barrier and communicate with her partner, whom she has remained in touch with.

Her classmate Viannely Francisco, a Spanish speaker, met a half-Peruvian, half-Japanese student who spoke some Spanish, Japanese and English. “Speaking Spanish myself, it was cool to communicate through her as she interpreted for the other students,” he said, adding that he was able to further connect with the Japanese students through songs and dance.

“Us students were the bridges that connected two cultures,” said 11th-grader Skylyn Senghor.

A group of student ambassadors from North Providence High School paired up with students from Fuji City, Japan, in December as part of the Global Leaders Program. This was the third year NPHS has been selected to host the students.