Japanese students visit career center as part of cultural exchange

MIDDLEBURY — Fifteen high school students from Tottori, Japan, visited the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center this past Tuesday as part of a youth cultural and environmental exchange program. Japanese students learned about the trapper boat-building unit of the Architecture and Engineering program and visited the Agricultural program.
Instructors Jake Burnham and Douglas Brooks hosted the visitors at PHCC; Brooks of Vergennes is a boat builder with extensive experience in Japan. Chaperones said the Japanese students really enjoyed the chance to meet Vermont students and learn about the curriculum at the career center with an instructor familiar with their culture and language. 
As part of their environmental research, the Japanese students also headed to the Addison County Solid Waste Management District Transfer Station to learn more about how Vermont handles its garbage.
Tottori Prefecture, the least populous prefecture in Japan, is in the southwestern part of the country. Tottori engages in regular exchanges with Burlington and Essex high schools through the Shoreham-based nonprofit Green Across the World, or GATW. Japanese students visit Vermont in the fall, and Vermonters travel to Japan in April each year. 
GATW seeks to improve cultural and environmental awareness and cooperation around the world. The organization conducts exchange and apprenticeship programs that function to establish an international community of learners.  Other activity in Addison County includes two virtual exchange programs at Mount Abraham Union High School, one with Bhutan and the other with Senegal.  More information is at gatp.org.

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