The Perse School

Japanese exchange 2015

16 Apr 2015

Over the Easter break, eight students from Years 10 and 11 embarked upon what was going to be the experience of a lifetime. They headed all the way to Japan for the annual cultural exchange with Mukonoso Sogo Comprehensive High School in Kobe.

Although the ice had already been broken between our students and their exchange partners after they visited The Perse back in December, the group couldn’t help but feel a little apprehensive of what laid ahead of them. Japan is such a different country, miles away from our western cultures and traditions. However, all their fears were alleviated as soon as we set foot on Japanese ground. Despite the two hour wait to get through immigration, the group’s spirits weren’t dampened; they were greeted with open arms and tears of joy and laughter. Their experience of Japanese life style had well and truly begun!

In eight days our students packed in an extraordinary amount of visits and activities masterminded by Ikehara sensei. Amongst other things they visited various temples and shrines in Kyoto where they also saw numerous ladies dressed in magnificent kimonos. In Nara it was really heart-warming to see our students interacting so nicely with their Japanese counterparts despite the language barrier. One of the most nerve racking moments was probably their first day at school. To the sound of “Land of Hope and Glory” played by the brass band the students marched through the great hall where all the school was assembled, clapping as they passed. Once on stage the Perse students introduced themselves in Japanese and received more cheers from the assembly.

This trip was a hugely enlightening and very humbling experience. Japan is an amazing country with a rich culture and wonderful sites. What made the group’s visit so special was its people, who are always smiley, helpful, polite and incredibly kind and generous. The group said emotional goodbyes to their exchange partners, but they were secure in the thought they had made friends for life.

Thank you to Mrs Wilson for organising this fantastic trip.

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