LEDBURY Rotarians welcomed their first youth exchange pupil from Japan last week.
As part of the programme, Georgina Hobden, who lives in the New Mills estate, went to visit her host family in Japan for two weeks while Kyoko Okura, from Osaka, came to stay in the village.
Visiting scholar Kyoko was met by Rotarians at Birmingham Airport before she was taken to Ledbury to join Georgie and her family.
With family members and Rotarians, Kyoko had the opportunity to improve her English when she visited Oxford, London, and many other heritage sites such as the cathedrals in Worcester, Hereford, Gloucester and Tewksbury Abbey.
She also visited the castles at Eastnor, Hampton Court and Goodrich and went to Much Marcle Church and the saw the 1,500-year-old Yew tree.
A keen bibliophile, Kyoko visited the famous book town of Hay-on-Wye and had a traditional fish and chip supper.
As well as this Kyoko was also introduced to the town’s Mayor Annette Crowe.
Kyoko, who has been studying Shakespeare at school, also got the chance to visit Stratford-upon-Avon and enjoy English tea party where Rotary President Bernie Robertson gave a speech in Japanese.
Georgie, meanwhile, had a great time in Japan, experiencing the cultural differences, foods, lifestyle and visited famous sites including the shrine at Hiroshima.
Bernie said the purpose of the exchange scheme was to develop international co-operation for mutual benefit coupled with fellowship and friendship between countries.
He added this first venture into youth exchange proved an enormous success for the two teenage girls, and both Georgie and Kyoko agreed they would never forget the amazing and precious experiences afforded them through the Rotary Youth Exchange Programme.