THE differences between Beechworth and Tokorozawa, Japan are almost too many to measure.
A dozen students and two teachers from Tokorozawa Nishi High School are visiting Beechworth Secondary College for just over a week as part of a homestay program.
For many of them, it is their first time out of a major metropolitan area – trading in their high-rise high school for the wide open pastures and clear skies of Beechworth.
Principal Patricia Broom said the visiting students weren't the only ones to benefit from the cultural exchange.
“They're getting a really Australian experience,” she said.
The things we take for granted are awe inspiring for them.Patricia Broom
“Because of where we live, there's very few opportunities for our students to mix with students from other countries, particularly from Asian countries.
“It's a great opportunity to learn about languages, learn about teenagers fro other cultures.”
Of all the differences, big and small, Ms Broom said one had stood out the most.
“We've found with groups in the past that they were astounded by the stars, the Milky Way,” she said.
“They can’t see stars over there because it's too bright.
“The things we take for granted are awe-inspiring for them, we realise how exciting our country is.”