Irvine and Japanese Students Conclude E-Pal Program

This school year, 35 Venado Middle School students participated in the Irvine -Tsukuba Sister City Student E-Pal Project, an electronic pen-pal project with middle school students in Japan.  Over the course of the program, participating students in Irvine and Tsukuba, Japan were able to connect face-to-face through video conferencing and through emails to share information about their interests and backgrounds.  Topics included information about each country, school, culture and lifestyle.
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“This exchange provided an opportunity to expand cultural understanding while creating lasting friendships between Irvine and Tsukuba middle school students,” said Keith Tuominen, IUSD Director of Secondary Education.

The 8th grade GATE students who took part in the program were eager and excited to get to know kids from another country.  “For Venado students, it was very enriching and for the Tsukuba students, it gave them a chance to practice English,” said Teacher Julie Campbell.  “Hopefully, some of these connections will be long-lasting.”

This culturally enriching program was part of the City of Irvine’s Sister City Program.  For more information about the E-Pal Project or the Sister City Program, visit