• Yamate Japanese Exchange 2020

  •  The 2020 exchange, both the April visit from Yamate to Yakima and the August return trip to Japan have been canceled by Yamate Gakuin Schools. Please contact fitterer.kirsten@yakimaschools.org regarding the information below:

    • We will host and go in 2021. Here are the dates:
      • Yamate to Yakima:  April 9th 2021 (Friday) - April 23rd 2021 (Friday)
      • Yakima to Yamate:  July 21st 2021 (Wednesday -however, we will need to leave on Tuesday, July 20, 2021) - August 8th 2021
    • Very sad news: current Juniors who are scheduled to travel this August will unfortunately NOT be eligible to travel next August (although we encourage you to host in April)
    • If you have paid money for travel and:
      • You need a refund – fill out this form, sign it, and email it to fitterer.kirsten@yakimaschools.org. Keep in mind that due to COVID-19 school closures, refunds could take several months.
      • You (current 8th, 9th, 10th graders) would like to carry over the payments for next year’s travel, email fitterer.kirsten@yakimaschools.org and she will transfer and hold your application and information for next year.
    • If you were going to host in April 2020:

    **** We are no longer accepting applications however we are accepting names for our waiting list. Please submit an email to express your interest. Thank you. ****


    YAMATE TO YAKIMA April 2020

    Yakima School District will again be hosting students from Yamate Gakuin High School in Yokohama, Japan Spring of 2020 (April 10 to April 24, 2020). Approximately 80 students will arrive in April of 2020 and spend two weeks with host families throughout the valley. This exchange has been occurring every three years for nearly 50 years!

    Activities For Yamate Students While in Yakima

    • 4:00 pm, Location TBA: Welcome Ceremony for Host Families to Connect With Yamate Students (host families take Yamate students home afterward)
    • Student/Host Social & T-shirt Screening at Davis Commons (Hosts provide plain t-shirts for screen-printing).
    • Yamate Chaperones: City Council Meeting - Proclamation -Yamate and Yakima Leaders only
    • Yamate Chaperones: School Board Meeting -Proclamation -Yamate and Yakima Leaders only
    • Day Trip 1 –  (local field trip for Yamate students only) - Yakama Nation Cultural Field Trip
    • Day Trip 2 – (a trip for Yamate students only) - Seattle Field Trip
    • Day Trip 3 - (a trip for Yamate students only) - Leavenworth Field Trip
    • Yamate Cultural Showcase - Eisenhower HS commons and auditorium. This is a wonderful display of booths/stations that reflect the Japanese culture. Plus, the Japanese students will perform in the auditorium!  Date TBA - opens to families and the public at 6:00pm (untill 8pm); host families need to get their Japanese students there for setup at 3:30pm.
    • April 24, 2020, Departure Day: Host families drop off their students in Bi-Mart/Starbucks parking lot, 3903 River Road, Yakima, WA 98902 by 4:45 a.m. (we have requested to Starbucks that they open at 4:00 am that day.)

    Download an application to apply to host 2 Japanese students (a few singles available) from April 10 to April 24, 2020: 2020 Host Application Note: April 10 is the last day of Spring Break, and April 12 is Easter. Please plan accordingly. As of Feb 5, 2020, we still need 15 host families.

    Thank you to the Blaine & Precy Tamaki Foundation for contributing funds to provide a welcoming experience to our visitors from Yamate Gakuin Schools.

  • **** We are no longer accepting applications however we are accepting names for our waiting list. Please submit an email to express your interest. Thank you. ****


    YAKIMA TO YAMATE August 8 (we leave August 7) to August 22 (Saturday), 2020

    If you are a student who will be an incoming 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grader in July 2020, (incoming 9th graders are permitted if space allows), you are eligible to apply to join us in Japan for the return trip to Yamate Gakuin High School in Yokohama.  The cost of the trip is typically around $2,200 (depends on airfare costs at the time of reservation) plus students like to bring another $200-400 for spending money and souvenirs. Yakima School District will prioritize YSD students, but if there is room, students from other districts are welcome (see prioritization notes below).

    Yamate Gakuin Schools has reported the following activities (YSD Chaperones will accompany students):

    8-11-20 Yokohama Excursion

    8-13-20 Tokoyo Excursion

    8-16-20 Cultural Day

    8-19-20 Disney Tokyo

    Payment is the family's responsibility; however, for the 2020 trip, YSD students can apply for a scholarship based on need. Currently, we have five $500 scholarships available. In addition, you are welcome to fundraise as a family or combine with other students from your school. To hold a spot, please advise Kirsten Fitterer of your interest (fitterer.kirsten@yakimaschools.org), then submit your application, a copy of your passport, proof of medical insurance coverage, and your profile sheet filled out and turned in with a deposit of $1,000 (or $500 and scholarship approval).  If your exchange application is not approved, your deposit is refundable in full and any scholarship awarded will be voided.  If your exchange application is approved, the remaining amount owed will be due April 24, 2020 (final airfare fees due from YSD to the airline at this time). After April 24, 2020, refunds may not be available.

    Space is limited to 40 students. A waiting list exists to 1) show program expansion interest and 2) to allow for students to fill in should one of the 40 accepted students not be able to make the trip in the final stages. 

    Travel details:

    Unless better options present themselves in early Spring 202, we plan to travel to Tokyo on Delta Airlines. From Tokyo, Yamate Gakuin will arrange for a bus to Yokohama (90-minute bus trip). Students (in their name as stated on their passports) are encouraged to apply for a Delta SkyMiles account to acquire the miles earned for the long trip. We will take a bus from Yakima to Seattle departing from the Bi-Mart/Starbucks parking lot (3903 River Road Yakima, WA 98902) at 6:00 a.m. The bus plans to return to the same location on August 22, 2019, between 1:00 and 2:00 pm.

    Luggage: one bag to check and one bag to carry on will be permitted. Students will be managing their own bags on buses, trains, etc. so pack accordingly. Students should plan to take small gifts for their host families of items from Yakima. In addition, students should allow empty space in their luggage to return with gifts from Yamate Gakuin (in past years they have given each student a Japanese Yukata). Please advise students that Japanese swords or any other souvenirs that could possibly be mistaken for a weapon of any kind are not permitted to bring back to Yakima in their luggage. Alcohol is also not permitted. The maximum weight for checked luggage is 50 lbs (consider bringing a $10 luggage scale); fees for overages are $100+ and are the student's responsibility.

    Parents: Questions come up with parents traveling with their students or meeting them in Japan. This is not permitted. This program is a valuable, immersive program for your student and they will not be available to see you or other relatives/friends during their trip. They will be a special part of their Japanese host family for two weeks. In addition, you will need to say goodbye from Yakima (at the bus). Parents are not permitted to join us at the airport in Seattle. All students are required to ride the bus from Yakima which begins the experience.

    Chaperones: 4 (administrator level) chaperones will accompany the group and will be designated and supervised by the YSD Coordinator, Kirsten Fitterer.  

    Application priority determination:

    • Application priority will be given to Yakima School District students however students from other districts are welcome to apply and will be included if space allows (space almost always allows; update: if you have applied by 12-31-19 from any district, you are accepted).
    • Application priority will be given to those students who serve as a day host and/or who commit to hosting two Japanese students in their home (or a friend or family member's home) when the Japanese students visit for April 10-24, 2020.
    • Application priority will also be given to siblings of students who have participated in previous trips.
    • Application priority will be given to students who have not previously participated in this exchange.
    • Application priority will be given to students who, due to their year in school, will not have an opportunity to go to Japan in 2023.


    Application Packet

    Gift Suggestions

    Passport Process