From the 5th to the 26th January, 11 of our senior students travelled to Japan to build on their Japanese language skills and immerse themselves in the local culture.
The three-week trip was a fascinating learning opportunity for Year 11 and Year 12 students who study Japanese at St Michael’s. Enabled by an ongoing relationship with our sister school Keio Shonan-Fujisawa, the exchange opportunity occurs every second year.
Over the first week, St Michael’s students were able to see, taste and experience the wonders of Tokyo and Kyoto. With Ms Kobayashi and Mr Yamada leading the way, the group visited the Imperial Palace, strolled through the shrines of Fushimi Inari-taisha, sampled local delicacies at Nishiki market, and were blown away by the buzzing technology district of Akihabara.
The exchange was an incredible language and cultural experience that truly immersed me in the Japanese way of life.Thomas Williams (11S)
After a full week, the St Michael’s students were ready to move into their homestay accommodation. Our students were met by their host families from Keio Shonan-Fujisawa, who welcomed them into their homes for the next two weeks.
With their host brother or sister by their side, St Michael’s students attended Keio School and were challenged to study all school subjects in Japanese. Our students also formed close bonds with their host families. Thomas Williams (11S) said that he found participating in the customs of a Japanese home to be an interesting and rewarding experience. Thomas’s host family was “incredibly kind and accommodating”, and with their help, his Japanese improved significantly. The St Michael’s and Keio students also enjoyed coming together to complete activities as a group.
Immersed in Japanese culture, the 11 students experienced how others live, they embraced diversity, and developed an understanding of the global nature of our world. Thomas Williams (11S) said the trip was the “best experience” in all his time at St Michael’s. Willem van Happs (12S) also enthusiastically endorsed the exchange:
I would definitely recommend this program for anyone who wants to improve their Japanese, as well as experience the life of a student there.Willem van Happs (12S)
The exchange group are looking forward to seeing their hosts again in March, when St Michael’s reciprocates the experience and welcomes 14 Keio Shonan-Fujisawa students.