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Des Moines Middle Schooler Selected for Exchange Student Program

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Des Moines middle schooler Allister Bailey was selected to be a part of the Kofu, Japan exchange student program, but he needs a little help getting there.

“We’ve set up a GoFundMe account to raise $3,500 to cover the cost of getting him there,” said Amy Bailey, Allister’s mother.

She said it’s very important for young children to have cultural experiences like this.

“This is the longest running exchange program for kids and I don't think should be limited to just people that can afford to go, and it should be able to be open for everybody,” Bailey said.

She hopes Allister will learn a lot in Japan.

“It's so diverse and it'll be a good experience for him to meet new people and stay with a host family there and eat their food. He gets to go to school and eat their food. I think it will just be a great experience,” she said.

Allister will be there for 10 days starting on May 31. He is excited about learning how to speak Japanese and visiting to Tokyo.

“I am most excited about having a host family because I get to connect with them, and when I come back here they said I could contact them somehow. So it’s pretty fun,” Allister said.

He said that in August a student from Japan will come stay with his family and go to class with him at McCombs Middle School.

“It's going to be really cool. I think it's going to be weird for them to try new things and hopefully they speak at least a tiny bit of English, but I guess we can teach them too,” he said.

Allister’s mom said both kids will be learning the same types of things in Japan and the United States.

“They learn about their government and they actually meet the mayor of Kofu, Japan and interview him, and they'll do the same things here. We will see the capital and and things like that, and they learn about the government and the education system here,” she said.

Allister needs to raise about $3,200 more by May 15, and you can donate here to help him get there.

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