Exchange student from Japan adjusting to life in Tyrone


Kathleen Cempa

Exchange student Nao Fujishima from Hamamatsu City, Japan

Nao Fujishima is an exchange student currently enrolled at Tyrone High School for the 2014-2015 school year. Fujishima is in Tyrone as a part of the Tyrone Rotary Club foreign exchange program.

Rotary exchange students are chosen based on their academic record, community service and other distinguishing accomplishments. Fujishima is one of the twenty-four exchange students currently attending schools in the area.

Fujishima is from the middle of Japan in the Shizuoka prefecture.  Her hometown is Hamamatsu City, which has a population of approximately 800,000 people.

Even though Nao misses her family back home, she is happy and enjoying the freedom and excitement of this experience.

It’s like a long vacation for me. It’s a really good experience.”

— Nao Fujishima, Exchange Student

“It’s like a long vacation for me. It’s a really good experience,” said Fujishima.

While she is enjoying her time in Tyrone so far, things here are a lot different than her home.

According to Fujishima, the hardest things to get used to are the language and the lifestyle.

“It’s so hard to understand what you guys are talking about.” said Fujishima, “and in Japan there are so many things for students to do during the day.”

And when it comes to one of Tyrone’s biggest obsessions, high school football, Fujishima is still just trying to figure it all out.

“It was a little confusing,” said Fujishima, “usually popular boys play soccer at my school.  Here they play football.”

Fujishima also noted that school is a lot more rigorous in Japan.

“There is a lot more work assigned to students than American high school students are required to do,” said Fujishima .

In Japan schools often only have six periods in a day and students are required to wear uniforms.  Clubs and activities all meet after school and are not always a part of the school.

Fujishima first became interested in the prospect of studying abroad when one of her teacher’s in Japan introduced her to the Rotary club, where she decided she wanted to take on this exciting adventure.

Though she is still a little nervous, Fujishima is excited for the rest of her school year in Tyrone.   She is scheduled to return home next June or July.