Hosting an International Student

This semester my family hosted a foreign exchange student from Japan for two weeks at our house. Being from Norman I lived at home this year, and it was a very enlightening and fun experience to host a foreign exchange student. His name is Yuto and he is from Kyoto, he is studying to become an elementary teacher and is a fan of all things American or trendy. He told me the word for what his friends call him but I’ve already forgotten it, but it essentially translated to “lover of all things new and trendy” and he was pretty proud of that title. His main goals when he was here were to improve his english, eat lots of American food, and learn American jokes.My sister and I tried to teach him some classic jokes, but we soon realized how much American humor relies on word-play, and that humor is lost on a non-english speaker or when translated into another language. For example, “Why is 6 afraid of 7? Because 7 8 9”, this joke is funny because “eight” is a homophone for “ate”. We also tried to tell him the “Why did the chicken cross the road”, but it’s almost impossible to explain why a joke like that is funny when it is only funny because of it’s un-funniness. We ended up just writing the jokes down for him to take home and he promised us someday he would understand them. I liked being able to talk to him about Studio Ghibli movies and learning Chinese, his face would light up when I knew something about his home nation and I think he appreciated that I was learning an asian language. It was fun to compare some Chinese and Japanese characters together and see the similarities and differences in the languages. We couldn’t always have fluent conversations but it was exciting when we could fully understand each other. By the end of his time here in Oklahoma he was much better at speaking and listening to English, and I was sad to see his spunky self go. Yuto is a very funny, smart, and nice kid and I hope to visit him in Japan someday soon.


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