Recently, we had the privilege of hosting five young Japanese students and two staff from Nishinomiya High School near Kobe in Japan. Kobe is a sister city of Perth. This was the first time that we have hosted Japanese students and it is hoped that we can send a group of students to Nishinomiya in the third term break next year.
The students stayed with the families of students from the school and at the end of their stay had not only experienced a taste of Australian culture, but formed close bonds with their host families. I have no doubt that they will keep in contact with their host brothers and sisters and hopefully meet again in Japan on exchange or perhaps at a time later in their lives.
While the students were at Dianella Secondary College they went with their host brothers and sisters to regular classes as well as having some specially organised sessions. These included learning Aussie phrases and slang with our own English Second Language students, volleyball with Mr Thompson’s Year 12 class, an indigenous art workshop and cooking traditional Anzac biscuits.
The Japanese students also spent one morning with the Year 6 students at Dianella Primary College and students from the Education Support Centre. At these schools one of the male students gave a karate demonstration which was followed by an origami lesson on how to make a crane by folding and refolding a sheet of paper. All students were given a turn to make their own cranes and within a very short time were thoroughly engaged in this activity. I was very impressed just how many of the students managed to make some good looking cranes. At the Education Support Unit the Japanese students participated in a Drumbeat session. There were lots of smiles all around as our visitors got into the swing or should I say ‘beat’ of it, producing some terrific drum rhythms. In addition to spending time at the Dianella campuses, our visitors had a day at Morley Senior High School. Here they attended Japanese language classes and shadowed their host brothers and sisters to their classes.
Some additional fun activities included a visit to Caversham Wildlife Park where the students were able to pat kangaroos and have their picture taken with a cute and cuddly koala. On the Saturday we took off to Fremantle to explore this historic port city and specifically the Fremantle Markets. The host brothers and sisters spent hours wandering through the markets and then we walked down the High Street finishing at the Roundhouse.
Sunday was their last day and had come around all too quickly. The students spent time with their individual host families in the morning followed by lunch at the school and then off to the airport. Tired, but having really enjoyed the visit the students were no doubt also looking forward to going home to their own families and friends, and sharing their experiences of their time in Perth.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the host families from Dianella Secondary College and of course the students, Sonaa Aneja, Shahad Aiez and Claudia Russell who opened their homes and hearts to our Japanese visitors.
Mr Peter Lander