For over 3 decades, DMPS and Kofu, Japan have been actively participating in an exchange program. In June of an exchange year, 24 students and 5 employees of DMPS spend almost 2 weeks immersed in the Japanese culture. They spend time as a member of a Japanese family which host our students and staff, they experience Japanese schools, and explore many cultural offerings of the beautiful city of Kofu, Japan.
In August of an exchange year, DMPS students, employees and their families offer that same experience to the people of Kofu. 24 Japanese students and 3-5 Japanese chaperones travel to Des Moines and stay with host families. These guests come to us from a mountanous region (Mt. Fuji is part of the backdrop of Kofu) to explore and experience this great midwest city of ours. As with the June exchange, Japanese students will become a part of the host families routines to immerse themselves in American culture. Connections that are built in both of the June and August exchanges create lifetime bonds and many students and host families still keep in touch today.
Not only does DMPS participate in the student exchange with Kofu, but also a Teacher Exchange. In any given year there are 3 to 5 DMPS teachers spending their year teaching English courses in Kofu schools. Their cultural experiences and global perspective is highly valued when they return to DMPS to teach the students of Des Moines.
The DMPS/Kofu exchange is part of the Sister State relationship between the state of Iowa and Yamanashi Prefecture. For more information on the Sister State relationships, click here.