IT was a Christmas with a difference this year for a group of 38 Japanese students who spent Christmas with local families and experienced the hospitality that the Coffs Coast is famous for.
The students arrived on Friday from Osaka and Tokyo and were brought to Coffs Harbour by the CHEC English Language Centre. They will be studying English at the Campus most mornings and enjoying the region's attractions in the afternoons.
The English Language Centre's international student advisor, Mr Bob Harris, said one of the main objectives of the program was for the students to experience the different cultural benefits of Australian society, especially at Christmas time, and also to enjoy the hospitality of local families who have offered to host them.
As an incentive to encourage local families to host these students the local Retravision store donated a CD player for one of the lucky host families.
Host mum Denise Shaw was the lucky winner of the prize. Ms Shaw and her daughters, Caroline and Penny, will host Japanese student Ms Natsuko Iguchi.
Some of the activities planned over the 10 days for Ms Iguchi are a camping trip in the national park, bushwalking, swimming in creeks and explor- ing the rainforest.
Mr Harris said it was difficult to get people to sponsor students at this time of year.