Promoting exchange between international schools in Japan and the world,
connecting the world with Japan.

Examples of school exchange /Case 1 September 2016

Guest School: St Eugene College (Australia)

Host School: Ueda Western High School (Nagano)

We don't do anything particularly special. For the guest students to be so happy just to see our regular student activities - that is the best motivation.

For 10 years, I have been a part of a program that allows overseas students to experience Japanese culture, where they participate in particular Japanese club activities like judo or kendo, tea ceremony, and calligraphy by rotating every 30 minutes.

At that time, I went to a school in Guam that paired up our students with their students to experience coconut weaving, cha cha dancing, and other activities. A teacher in Guam advised me that it was best to have the groups rotate and experience each activity. Since then, we have been doing the same thing. I am glad we were able to gain that insight.

Because we work efficiently within a short time frame and the Japanese students are specialized in their club activities, it becomes a fun as well as high-quality experience for exchange students from overseas.

The Japanese students aren’t doing anything particularly special; they are only showing what they do in their regular club activities.

However, they start to feel that what they are doing is amazing when the overseas students make comments such as, “That’s incredible,” and become very happy. When your efforts and works are valued, it becomes both a source of encouragement and happiness.

Even for us, teachers, and for the students’ guardians, we are primarily motivated by the fact that the students are enjoying what they are doing.

Of course, there are times that we also experience the difficulty of cultural differences.

For example, when we accepted exchange students from Indonesia, we found them to be inexpressive. Even when we spoke to them in basic Indonesian, English, and Japanese, they didn’t seem to understand us. I became anxious because I didn’t know whether they were enjoying themselves.

After they returned to their home country, however, I received messages saying, “It was really good! Let us be sister schools.”

They had actually been very happy. But I didn’t know that.

This experience has been educational for me. Japanese people have to also express themselves clearly when they go abroad so the hosts know that their efforts are appreciated and that we are very happy. I talked about this with the students and we agreed that it was a good experience to be able to meet people from overseas.

To experience interacting with people of various different cultures is also an opportunity to reflect on ourselves.

Ueda Western High School
Prof. Yue Yamaguchi ECC Advisor

School Exchange

10:00 Welcoming Ceremony
Principals' Greetings
Exchange of Commemorative Gifts
Ueda Western High School Students' Greeting, Wadaiko Performance
St Eugene College Students' Greeting, Choral Performance
Presentation of Student Pairs
11:00 Lunch (Cafeteria)
12:00 Ueda Western High School ECC (English Communication Club)
Presentation on Regional Traditional Culture
15:50 Joining Club Activities
Judo, Kendo, Tea Ceremony, Ikebana
16:00 Farewell Interview
Decorating the Welcome Banner
17:00 Send-off

Welcoming ceremony

Exchange of commemorative gifts

Lunch (cafeteria)

Joining in on club activities

Joining in on club activities (judo)

Joining in on club activities (tea ceremony)

Joining in on club activities (ikebana)

Joining in on club activities (kendo)

Decorating the welcome banner

Educational Trip to Japan Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival at Haneda Airport, Sightseeing in Tokyo
Day 2 Matsumoto City (Soba-making experience and lunch, Matsumoto Castle visit)
Lodging (Hotel)
Day 3 Yatsugatake (Stroll through the garden at the mountain top)
Nagato Farm (Farm visit, lunch)
Tateiwa, Home of Japanese Paper (Experience making a Japanese fan)

Lodging (Homestay)
Day 4 School Exchange (Ueda Western High School)
Lodging (Homestay)
Day 5 Daio Wasabi Farm (Wasabi field visit)
Matsumoto City (Clock museum visit, experience making Matsumoto tanabata dolls)

Travel to Kyoto
Lodging (Hotel)
Day 6 Sightseeing in Kyoto
Departure from Kansai International Airport

Two nights in homestay. We don't say NO to school exchange. That is our forte.

I first learned about the educational travel market in Japan in 2009. It began operating in Singapore the following year (2010), and in Australia in 2011. Four or five schools from Singapore and six schools from Australia have come this past year.

There are vast numbers of students in Australia who choose Japanese as their second language. There are many cases, such as this occasion, in which they visit Japan as part of their Japanese class education. I therefore strongly feel the necessity of ongoing market management of educational travel in Japan.

There is a company in Australia that we have formed ties with that specializes in educational travel in Japan. They requested facilitation of two nights of homestay in Japan. They asked if they could design a program comprising three nights and four days, where one night is spent at a regular hotel and the two nights are at a homestay.

I wondered why they requested for two nights at a homestay because if they arranged for two nights at a hotel and one night at a homestay, there would be more plans that we could offer.

They replied that children are nervous on their first night. They are only finally able to feel at ease on the second night, and they want the children to say, “Ittekimasu. Tadaima.” (A form of Japanese greeting that means, “I am going. I am back.”)

Matsumoto’s advantages are that you can do homestay for two nights and that the schools never reject requests for exchange. Finding schools to accept exchanges is generally the hardest part.

Nagano Prefecture has a council called The Study Travel Invitation Promotion Council, and due to its reputations for frequently accepting many overseas schools in the past and for never saying no, it has become a popular destination.

We are very grateful to the JNTO. Because the JNTO holds local seminars for educational travel in Japan, we are also able to engage in promotional activities. We are very thankful for the fact that they provide a venue to conduct these activities.

In the future, we hope the JNTO would carry out businesses to explore Japan for various clients, such as schoolteachers and travel agencies, involved in educational travel in Japan. It would be best if they actually see the places for themselves.

Matsumoto Welcome Project
Prof. Touru Yamaishi

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