LIONS Club International Youth Exchange student Mariko Teshima, 19, will bring home fond memories of her recent 20-day home stay in Malaysia.
The accomplished violinist who is currently studying in Munich, Germany, said she is impressed with Malaysia’s harmonious multi-racial society and touched by the hospitality.
“I enjoy eating the local fruits like mangosteen and food like satay. How I wish I can stay on longer in your lovely country as I have made many friends,” said the pretty lass from Chiba Prefecture who is among the 21 Japanese youths who were hosted by families from around Klang Valley by Lions Club District 308 B2 of Malaysia.
Mariko, who visited Malaysia for the first time, stayed at the home of Lions Club of Subang Jaya vice president Eng Kim Leng and his wife Shirley in Kota Kemuning. She said she would miss her foster family who had showered her with much affection and showed her various aspects of Malaysian life.
Besides visiting numerous places including Malacca where the Eng family took her on a memorable river cruise in the historic city, she also visited Petronas Twin Towers, Sunway Lagoon Resort theme park, climbed up Batu Caves, canoed at a Putrajaya lake and attended a three-day youth camp at Selesa Hill Resort.
During a farewell dinner for the Japanese youths, Mariko performed a violin rendition of the Hungarian Dance No. 5.
She had participated in a similar youth exchange programme in China five years ago.
Mariko’s parents and only sibling, a younger brother is currently staying in Germany. Her father is a scientist while her mother is studying the German language.
She has performed as a member of the local orchestra in various parts of Europe and the US. She will be having a debut solo performance next year in Germany.
Eng, who is Naza TTDI Sdn Bhd chief operating officer, said the aim of the exchange programme for youths aged 16 to 21, was to foster goodwill and understanding and enable youths to experience a different lifestyle and culture.
He had “fostered” a Japanese boy under the Lions programme two years ago. His eldest son, Wen Liang, 18, went to Norway two years ago on this exchange programme and stayed with four host families.