An experience shared with Levi Reynolds


Courtesy Levi Reynolds

Levi Reynolds reflect on his visit to Japan

Madolyn Hackler, Business Manager

Being able to travel to a different part of the world to learn about another culture sounds like something students and other individuals would only have the chance to do on vacation while taking a semester off to study abroad. That wasn’t the case for fellow student Levi Reynolds and Lake Land education instructor Kimberly Davis who spent five days in Okuwa, Japan this past fall.

Kim and her husband have been a part of the Sister City program in Shelbyville, IL for several years. They have both been hosts and chaperones for the Sister City program, having students from Japan come stay in their home as well as taking students over to Okuwa, Japan. When Kim brought up the idea to broaden the Sister City program to Lake Land, Levi jumped at the chance. He said that he was nervous at first because of the cost, but in the end, said that “it was a truly life changing experience” and “the most rewarding experience.”

He said that there were a lot of similarities between the US and Japan. The biggest cultural difference that he experienced was that “the respect was very high.” He mentioned that while in the classroom, helping out as an English teacher teaching lessons, the middle school-aged children were more sweet and compassionate than any aged child Levi has ever been around. He also said that at the schools they don’t hire many custodians, instead, at the end of each day, the kids spend an hour in silence cleaning up after themselves in the classrooms. Also, before entering the school buildings or into homes, shoes are always roomed and slippers are worn inside. Another cultural difference that Levi talked about was the food. All of the food that is served is very fresh and locally grown and picked daily. Levi stayed with a host family while in Okuwa. In the Japanese culture, they are really into giving gifts. Levi mentioned that between his host family, his roommate and his family, he received various gifts that were beautiful and touching.

Both Levi and Kim said that they would love to talk to any individual that may have any questions, that may be interested in this once in a lifetime experience or anyone who may just want to hear about their stories. As for Levi, he mentioned that he loved the experience so much that he will be going back to Japan in the future, but he will be bringing along his girlfriend to share the experience with.

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