MG student bound for Japan as exchange student

By Evelyn Long

February 11, 2014

Andrew McFarland is anticipating “the experience of a lifetime.” The 16 year old Mount Gilead High School sophomore, is leaving on March 18, to spend 11 months in Kodomashi, Osaka-Fu, Japan. He will be attending Doshisha Kori High School, a private school in Osaka, and will reside with host parents whose surname is Fukada. The family includes the parents and two sons, one in college and the other is the same age as Andrew.

His visit is to Japan is made possible through the AFS (American Field Service) program.

His parents, Steve and Samantha McFarland, are giving him a send off by hosting a “Going Away” reception on Saturday, March 1, from 2 to 4 pm in the Hospice of Morrow County facility, 228 South Street, Mount Gilead.

Young McFarland, has always wanted to explore the world outside of the United States. “Ever since I learned there are other places and other people who live and act different than me. A friend told me about AFS and I thought it would be an interesting chance to explore the world that I have only read about.”

He explained “My personal goal is to have a chance to go somewhere and learn about different places and different people. Through out the almost 16 years I have spent my life in a small home town, I have been able to learn of its history, its paths in the woods, the places of interest and now I’m ready for new adventure in a new land.”

The American Field Service has been leading international high school student exchanges for more than 65 years.

McFarland has been active on his school swimming team and is joining the summer swim team. During the spring, summer and fall, he plays “American Football.” Other activities include the collection of coins, the art of archery and his artistic ability includes drawing pictures that range between cartoons and animation. As a member of his Boy Scout Troop he helps to conduct a monthly food bank and cleans roads by picking up trash. He enjoys the camping ventures with the troop.

His future plans include attending a college of art or computer design where he can pursue his dream of making art for computer programs.

McFarland has two older brothers, Justin and Chris.

One challenge that he will confront is that his Japanese host family speaks no English. McFarland has been working through tapes and videos to learn some Japanese language.

The public is invited to attend the open house hosted by his parents and give Andrew a great send off on his next adventure.