Hurst is part of the San Joaquin County Office of Education and STEM Integration and Innovation program that is hosting 24 students and two teachers from Mito Daini Senior High School, in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan.
The rising junior joined 14 other Tracy High students on Wednesday, Aug. 7, in welcoming the international guests.
“I’ve never met too many foreigners and I’d love to get to know another culture, so I decided to do it,” Hurst said.
Each Tracy High student paired with one or two Japanese students to give them a tour of the campus and Tracy High’s biotechnology program.
“I think it’s really important not only in the IB program, but in science, to know other cultures,” Hurst said. “Science isn’t concentrated in just one country, it’s worldwide.”
Sayuri Shimizu, a student from Japan, looked at the campus in awe. Mito Daini High School is designated in Japan as a “Super Science High School.”
“It’s big here,” she said. “My school is very small.”
Erin McKay, the Tracy High teacher who helped arrange the gathering of the two groups, believes the program offers cultural exposure for each group.
“I think it’s really good to give the Japanese students a taste of an American high school,” she said. “The Tracy High students really get a chance to interact with students that come from a different educational system.”
Farwa Feroze, a rising senior, found that she and her partner “have a lot in common.”
“It’s very cool and very different,” she said. “We both love biology.”
After touring the Tracy High campus, the Japanese and Tracy High students traveled to the San Joaquin County Board of Education office in Stockton to have lunch and share presentations. The Japanese students will be going back home tomorrow.
This is the program’s second year, and county education officials hope to continue it, according to Kirk Brown, the county’s STEM Integration and Innovation director.
“Most of science is international and you have to collaborate with partners all around the world, and this is the first step in doing that,” he said.
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