Hokusetsu Exchange Visit 2014 北摂三田高等学校の訪問

It was a great pleasure hosting the Japanese visitors from our sister school, Hokusetsu Sanda Senior High School in Japan. The 2 week exchange program went smoothly and both the St Columba’s students and the Japanese students benefited greatly from the experience. We would like to thank all the host families for their generosity in hosting our Japanese students. We hope you had a good time with our Japanese students. Without your kind support, dedication and understanding of the language and cultural barriers, this exchange program would have never been possible. On behalf of St. Columba’s community we would like to express our sincere appreciation to the following host students and their families: Dominique and Astrid Sarazen, Liam Carvasiglia, Rowan Davie, Jenna Woolley, Peter and Freya
McNair, Polly McCauley, Lucy Melton, Christian and Sam Balog, Amelia and Victoria Jackson, Lily and Patrick Wrobel, Eden and Jacob Peters, Oscar, Julietta and Georgina Dodd, Mikaela Au, Declan and Keelan Ellis, Tayla and Corey Oag, Adam and Samuel Tiberi, Sophie Breytenbach, Erin and Hayden Kilner, Eddy Brown, Imogen Kelly and Caitlin Muller. All of those students have been wonderful, hospitable, caring and responsible for looking after our Japanese students. We had many special events with our Japanese students and teachers during their stay. We had a special welcome assembly with many special guests including the Consulate General of Japan, Mr Masato Takaoka, an excursion to Katoomba with elective Japanese students and the farewell party with all the host families. All the events were conducted in English and Japanese and both Japanese students and St Columba’s students had wonderful opportunities to use their language skills.

The following are some comments from students who hosted a Japanese student for two weeks:

Japanese students and teachers from Hokusetsu Sanda Senior High School visited Australia for 12 days. 
During this time, they lived with us, came to school and went sightseeing to places like Scenic World in 
Katoomba. It was a great opportunity to learn about each other's language and culture. Hosting a student from another country gives you the chance to see the world around you in a different way. Cultural differences can make something we see as ordinary seem very interesting from another point of view. Just like how different aspects of Japanese culture are fascinating to Australians. I'm sure the study tour in 2015 to Japan will allow me to have an experience like this. I hope to continue strengthening bonds between my host sister, Maho, and I, St Columba's and Hokusetsu Sanda, and the relationship between Australia and Japan in general. 
Jenna Woolley Year 9 

I was one of the many St Columba’s students who hosted a Hokusetsu student for two weeks during their stay in Australia. My experiences with the Hokusetsu students was fantastic. I learnt so much about the Japanese language and its culture from the students. It was truly an opportunity that should be taken as it was one of the best events I've ever done so far in my life. I observed the great bond between the two schools through the many events organised by St Columba’s. I was able to use what I have learnt of the language for the first time ever in a real scenario. Hosting a Japanese student was extremely enjoyable and I recommend it to anyone even if you don't learn the language, it's good to make new friends. We had some time to show our exchange student the wonders of the great Blue Mountains and the beautiful city, Sydney. However the most important thing we did with the student was showing our family and friends the world that we live in right now and sharing each other’s great cultures. Communication was a problem at first but as the days went on it got easier. My family could ask questions and I could draw some words out of it and put them into Japanese. Her English was pretty good. Having this exchange boosted both the Hokusetsu student’s and my learning of each other’s languages. I plan to keep in touch with my exchange student through email. I look forward to meeting with her again when I participate in the school trip in January next year. For now it's my turn to be an exchange student to Japan and I cannot wait. I am really excited to go to Japan and learn even more about their culture, people and places. But most importantly make good friends and a stronger tie between St Columba's Catholic College and Hokusetsu Sanda High School. 
Jacob Peters (Year 10

My family and I hosted Yui and it was a lovely experience from the beginning. She joined in all our
family activities. I enjoyed learning from her about Japan and its culture. We taught Yui many things
and she especially enjoyed learning to play handball. She loved her stay in Australia, and didn’t want to
go back to Japan. We took Yui for a bushwalk so that she could see some of the beautiful Blue
Mountains and we also took her to Jenolan Caves. Her reaction was “sugoi!”(amazing!) Yui’s English is
very good and she understood a lot of what we said. I tried to talk to her asmuch asI could in Japanese,
which was a lot of fun. Yui brought many presents from Japan, including lots of origami paper,
Japanese scarfs, and games. When I go to Japan in January, I will be hosted by Yui and her family, and I am really looking forward to it. Since she left to go back to Japan, Yui and I have emailed each other
several times, and we plan to stay in touch. I can’t wait to go to Japan and to see Yui again.
Julietta Dodd Year 10 

Our sister school exchange program has been developed successfully between the two schools over the past 22 years. We would like to thank everyone for their kind help in supporting us in many ways with this valuable exchange program. Our sincere thanks to St Columba’s Principal, Mr Ryan for his support of the exchange program. His support, encouragement and involvement in the program are invaluable and truly appreciated. We are now preparing for St Columba’s Study Trip to Japan which will be held in January 2015. Thirty students in Years 9 and 10 have been selected and students are getting very excited to go to Japan and catch up with the Japanese students.
Mrs Shizue Sato & Miss Elizabeth McArthur 
Japanese Department