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Daikin, WISD Homestay Program Goes Virtual

Photo of WHS Daikin Homestay Participants For another year, Daikin Texas Technology Park has partnered with Waller High School (WHS) to provide five seniors with a unique look into Japanese culture through the Homestay Program. In past years, Daikin would send four WHS seniors and a teacher to Osaka, Japan to get a firsthand experience of their culture. This year, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the Homestay Program was adapted to be a virtual experience. Seniors Delsy Cook, Adrian Cortes, Debany Gonzalez, Angela Rojas, and Daisy Romero were chosen as this year’s Homestay participants.

“When I got the email that I had been selected for the program, I was shocked but so excited,” Romero said. “I couldn’t believe I was picked!”

To be a part of the program, interested students have to go through an application process. Students are selected based on characteristics such as respect, compassion, adaptability, and their desire to help others. When asked why they decided to apply for the program, all agreed it was their curiosity.

“I have always wanted to learn more about Japan and their way of life,” Gonzales said. “I wanted to see how their culture was similar and different from ours.”

Not being able to travel to Japan, Daikin teamed with the Asia Society Texas Center to help teach the students about traditional customs online. There will be a total of 10 virtual meetings that will take place from October 2020 through February 2021. To fully immerse themselves in the experience, students are provided supplies that coincide with the day’s lesson. Students participate in creating traditional flower arrangements, calligraphy, cooking, and a tea ceremony. All meetings include language lessons and a chance for students to ask questions. At the end of the Homestay Program, students will write an essay on the impact the program has had on them and what they have learned.

“This has been so much fun,” Cortes said. “I’m looking forward to the calligraphy session the most.”