They arrived a little late, slightly sleepy, but with ear to ear smiles.
Having travelled thousands of kilometres across the Pacific, the students and their chaperones were easily forgiven.
The group of 21 (16 students, four teachers, one escort,) arrived at the RSS lobby to much fanfare. Local host families and delegates cheered and help up homemade welcome signs with their Japanese student’s name.
It was the start of a whirlwind cultural event that takes place annually, an exchange between Revelstoke and Ono Cho.
Thursday night, as families waited for the group to arrived, they chatted quietly among themselves.
The McTaggarts sat together in the front row of chairs, holding their two signs aloft.
They’ve hosted students a handful of times.
“It’s a real small-world feeling that you get,” says Kim. “The students that we hosted many years ago, we’ve kept in touch with them.”
When son Cameron, a Grade 10 student at RSS, was in Japan last year for the exchange, he was met by two former students that had stayed with his family in Revelstoke.
“There’s a real connection and we’ve kept in touch,” says Kim. “It just makes the world feel like a really small place.”
This year, one of their students is the younger sister of a student they hosted years ago.
“These are great kids,” says Glenn. “They’re amazing. A lot of fun.”
Ono Cho students sharing cultural activities with RSS students today. pic.twitter.com/WEnGUNDvN3
— RSS (@RevelstokeSec) February 5, 2018
“They’re eager to try whatever it is that you’re doing,” adds Kim. “They just participate in whatever your activities are at home.”
The students experience a lot in a short amount of time. On the schedule was a day at the school Friday, shadowing students.
Saturday and Sunday the students were scheduled to take in some of the town’s winter activities, including skiing at Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
The McTaggarts were hoping to visit Halcyon Hot Springs and a Carousel of Nations Saturday. Glenn was already thinking about getting their students outfitted to go snowshoeing in the back yard.
“You get to be a tourist in your own town,” says Kim. “Sometimes you forget how beautiful it is where we’re living.”
On Monday, it was the Ono Cho students’ turn to share their culture with students. They set up stations in the common area near the office for RSS students to experience.
The McTaggarts are already looking forward to hosting another group of students in the future. And perhaps, if they get lucky, a trip of their own abroad.