|School Name||La Union School|
|Location||Peru (South America)|
|Time of Travel||February 2017|
|Age of Students||16-18 years old|
|Number of Participants||About 20 people in total|
|Host School (School Exchange)||Saitama University Education Department Affiliated Junior High School (Saitama)|
Host School (School Exchange)
|School Name||Saitama University Education Department Affiliated Junior High School|
La Union School Arrival
Tour of Classes
Club Activity visits
La Union Departure
location_cityReviews from Teachers
By using Japanese in Japan and communicating with students of their age, I hope they will realize their identities as descendants of Japanese people.
One of our objectives of the Japan educational travel program is to allow students to use Japanese in Japan. Another goal is to have them experience Japanese culture and lifestyle. We consider the school exchange to be the main part of the program because we believe that it would be easier for students to use Japanese with people of their own age.
With the support of JNTO, we had the opportunity to conduct school exchanges with Ageo High School, Koshigayaminami High School, and Saitama University Affiliated Junior High School.
Through the exchanges, I realized that each school has their own unique characteristics.
This was Ageo High School’s first time conducting an international school exchange. They greatly welcomed us. They held a large welcome party with performances by the baseball team and cheerleaders, and a large banner written by the calligraphy club. We put on two Peruvian dance performances, in which students of two schools were able to become closer. Experiencing something together is the best way to become close with one another. Besides, Peruvian students make friends quickly and do not distance themselves. Though I was at first worried about the difference of Japanese students’ lifestyle and their sense of distance, these high school students were able to befriend one another, participate in classes, and become intimate with each other.
Koshigayaminami High School hosted us for two days. On Wednesday and Friday, we participated in morning classes conducted in Japanese, including social sciences, math, and classical Japanese literature. In the afternoon, we joined in an English class. At Koshigayaminami High School, there were two students who spoke Spanish. The school already had some experience of international school exchanges, and they have established a “buddy” system in which two Japanese students, as “buddies”, would accompany sixteen Peruvian students. The students showed their support by taking classes, spending break time, and eating lunch together. They were all high school students, so they were keen to interact with each other.
At Saitama University Affiliated Junior High School, we were only able to observe classes. Many students can speak English there. If we have had more time, we would have been able to have more interactions. Also, the school was not what I had imagined. The resources there were incredibly abundant, which may owe to its affiliation with a university. They used smart boards in class, and the teachers were passionate about education. I was hoping that the students might be able to understand the differences between high school and middle school education, but I supposed the time was not enough.
The program was two weeks long, yet I was not sure if two weeks was long or short. However, it took us 24 hours to travel from Peru to Japan, and we kept that in mind when planning the schedule.
The school exchange is of our top priority because La Union Middle School have been involved in a great number of international school exchanges. We have welcomed many guests from Japan. The guests came for the purpose of research, observation, survey, and many more reasons. We cooperate with Meio University, Okinawa and they agreed to offer one of our graduates a one-year exchange for free. Until three years ago, we have had annual student exchanges with an agricultural school in Kochian, Hokkaido. Still, this was our first time visiting Japan, and we are hoping that the program will continue in the future.
We have a vision that half of our students would have visited Japan before their graduation. Currently, we have 1,200 students from eleven grades in the elementary and the middle school. We are the largest private school in Peru. There are many students applying to attend our school, but we are not able accept them all for the time being. We are planning to have more buildings and thereby accept a few more students.
There are 16 students participated in this exchange program, including eight from tenth grade and eight from eleventh grade. They were chosen by their homeroom teachers, Japanese teachers, or other teachers. We also needed their parents’ approval of the trip. Therefore, an information meeting was held before the trip, and we explained the project to the parents for about three or four times. Besides, it was difficult acquiring Japanese visa. Also, we had a layover in Canada, and a Canadian visa was thus required. In addition, we cooperated with a travel agency to help us with flight tickets, accommodations, insurance, and itinerary. There are several days with no special arrangements, and I took the students to the places I knew. We worked with the travel agency on our travel in Kyoto, but we did not have any support on our travel in the Kanto region. This planning task was difficult and took us a lot of effort.
The most difficult part of the educational trip was that everything was new to us, so the person in charge of the international exchange did not have any previous plans as reference or example. We could only plan by ourselves. When we arrived Japan, we heard that it would be much easier with the help of a travel agency instead, which had not come to our minds then.
I hope that through this educational travel, the students will not only acquire academic knowledge, but also learn something about guidance, discipline, and organization. During the presentations, the Japanese students were sitting in good postures and did not interrupt. I hope that our students were able to pick up on that. Also, during the train rides, I asked my students to be quiet, for what was considered ordinary in Peru was not the same in Japan. I hope they would be aware of the gap and have the eagerness to study in Japan, becoming a bridge between the two nations. The students are fourth-generation Japanese-Peruvians, but they do not identify themselves as Japanese. As a Japanese school, we want them to realize that they are descendants of Japanese people. I was hoping that there should be more time for them to get to know each other during the exchanges; yet it was the exam season in Japan. Speaking of this, I am extremely grateful that these schools accepted our requests even in such a busy time. It was very helpful the assistance from JNTO and Saitama Prefecture in school matching. Besides, I really appreciate the staff from the tourist division who were attending to us. Because everything was very new to us, we were totally at lost, not knowing what we should do. I am sincerely looking forward to a closer cooperation in the future.
location_cityReviews from Students
By spending time with Japanese students, I learned to respect people of different cultures and ways of thinking!
Before I came to Japan, I had this impression of a culture of respect, whether to people or things. The impression had something to do with stories about Japanese culture which my relatives in Okinawa told me, and I loved listening to them. When I actually came here, I thought Japan is a safe, respectful, and wonderful country in which people are kind.
The best part of this educational trip was that Japanese people were very respectful and friendly.
The most memorable part in the school exchange were calligraphy, Japanese tea ceremony, and the performance of koto, a traditional Japanese string instrument. There are no instruments similar to koto in Peru, and it has a very beautiful sound. Calligraphy and Japanese tea ceremony were introduced to us in school in Peru, and I also learned them on the Internet, but I never had a chance to actually practice them myself. Because I am half-Peruvian, half-Japanese, I am extremely interested in Japanese culture and I was glad to be able to experience both of them.
Aside from the school exchange, I enjoyed the cultural experience in Kyoto and Nara. I especially liked the ancient buildings, and the temple with a large Buddha statue in Nara. I enjoyed myself very much. I was incredibly glad to be able to come to Japan this time.
By seeing an entirely different world, my heart has changed. By spending time with Japanese students, I learned to respect people of different cultures and ways of thinking. I hope I can come back and visit again.
By joining in classes and club activities in Japan, I got motivated to study Japanese harder!
Before I came to Japan, I imagined Japan as a well-organized and beautiful country. After I came, I was surprised that not only the buildings and the culture, but also the people were decent and beautiful. The landscapes were really beautiful, too.
The funniest part of the school exchange was taking P.E. and art classes at Ageo High School in the same way as at my school. At Saitama University Affiliated Junior High School, we could only observe classes, but I was happy to participate in softball club. At Kashigayaminami High School, I got to experience calligraphy and Japanese tea ceremony. I had written calligraphy in Peru, but it was my first time doing the Japanese tea ceremony. The matcha was very delicious and I enjoyed it.
Curry was the most delicious dish among the Japanese foods I had tasted. We do not eat curry much in Peru. Japanese curry was spicy and delicious.
Through the two-week educational travel program, I had the opportunity to use Japanese, and I got motivated to study the language harder. In Peru, we mainly focus on writing and reading practice, but I want to practice speaking more.