On the 2 April, 13 students from Year 9, 10 and 11 studying Japanese, embarked on a journey to Japan where we stayed at Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Ogaki and Tokyo. A lot of fun packed activities and sightseeing were done during this trip but the most enjoyable experience for all us was to spend good quality time with our host families in Japan. During this time, we were given a good opportunity to practise our Japanese and figure out different ways of communicating if they didn’t understand what we were saying. Some of our host families also had children so we were able to play and talk to them which was also fun. They would bring us places to sightsee like Japanese castles and theme parks whilst talking to us a lot.
After this experience with our host family, people got very emotional and upset at leaving their host family as we developed a deep connection with them. Therefore, all of us want to go back to Japan again to meet our host family again.
Overall, this Japan trip was an amazing experience that was very memorable and useful for learning Japanese and, hopefully, we can go back to Japan in the future.
Vishnu Krishnamoorthi, Year 10
New Caledonia 2015
The study tour to Noumea, New Caledonia, was a truly unforgettable experience. Immersion in a French-speaking culture makes it so easy to improve the knowledge and use of the language. Living with a local family, paired with English-free classes daily, without a doubt improved our French.
The city of Noumea and its surrounds is bordered by pristine beaches and beautiful mountainous coastline. The consistently warm weather was a bonus! As well as classes, we had the opportunity to explore the city and visit notable cultural sites. We had a wonderful day at Amédée Island, where we swam with turtles, sat on the beach, travelled in a glass-bottom boat and enjoy a traditional buffet for lunch.
What’s more, after a week travelling, studying and socialising with the same group, I am sure I speak for others when I say we have made long-lasting friendships. Merci to Madame Dickens and Madame Richards for organising a fantastic trip. It would not have been possible without their commitment, support and group-photo-taking skills.
Aidan McShane, Year 9
Vive La Nouvelle-Caledonie – French language study trip
On the 19th of June, 13 of us, along with Madame Dickens and Madame Boutselis arrived in the ever-warm capital of New Caledonia, Noumea. The French language study trip, the first to New Caledonia, was designed to allow French students from Years 9-12 the opportunity to immerse themselves in the French language and culture from a destination closer to home, and thus improve and extend on our French speaking, listening and writing skills.
Over the ten days we participated in 12 hours of French classes held at CREIPAC, Noumea’s French language school, after which we would spend lunch and the early afternoon taking part in various activities all over the city, before being collected by our host families. Though daunting at first for many, spending time with our home-stay family was the highlight of the trip, and even though we spent just over a week with them, saying goodbye at the end was a very sad occasion, and not just because we would miss their cooking!
Our last full day was spent on the picturesque island known as Phare Amédée where we snorkelled in the coral reef, took part in traditional dancing, watched coconut tree climbing demonstrations, learned how to tie traditional sarongs, viewed the whole of Noumea from the top of the lighthouse, and feasted on a fresh seafood buffet.
For everyone who took part in the trip, it was an experience that will never be forgotten.
Emily Greenwood, Year 11
Japan – an experience to remember
It is amazing how an aeroplane journey can transport you to another world in such a short time; such was the case for Kilvington students who recently visited Japan. Learning about a different culture from afar is one thing – but becoming immersed in it is quite another, for this is when the learning truly begins.
The students were accompanied by teachers Miss Isihara and Miss Mackie, who were excited to be travelling with the group for two weeks. They travelled to Hiroshima on the Shinkansen Bullet Train, and were impressed with the fast and efficient mode of transport. Hiroshima is a city famous for its tragic history, and a visit to the Peace Memorial Museum left a lasting impression about the sadness encountered there so many years ago.
Reuniting with old friends
Other landmarks visited included the Istukishima Shrine on the island of Miyajima, and the Genbaku Domu (or Atom Bomb Dome). At the Peace Memorial Museum, Kilvington students placed origami cranes made by the Year 7 class at the Children’s Shrine beside cranes made by students from all over the world – a very touching moment. The group had the chance to visit the host school, Hiroshima Jogakuin, and spoke about the differences between Japanese and Australian school life. It was a wonderful opportunity for them to reunite with students they previously knew who had been to Kilvington on exchange.
With some sadness and promises to keep in touch, the group left Hiroshima and travelled to Oogaki, in Gifu. Along the way they made a stop at the stunningly beautiful Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto, a Buddhist temple and World Heritage Site. While in Oogaki, the students received a rare honour – a special meeting with the Mayor. The discussions with this high-ranking official included everything from politics to personal ambitions and aspirations. It would have been easy to be overwhelmed in such a formal setting, but the students rose to the occasion and will remember the experience with pride.
A cultural revelation
Another of the trip’s highlights was a visit to the Kiitos Garden Kindergarten, run in conjunction with Hirano Gakuen, Kilvington’s brother/sister school in Ogaki. The kindergarten students sang some delightful songs and were happy to pose for photos. The traditional Kimono is an intrinsic part of the Japanese identity, and students were fortunate to be fitted for this traditional dress by Miss Fuji. This process gave them a greater understanding of the costume’s significance.
The group left Oogaki for Tokyo, saying farewell to the small country town and hello to the bright lights of the big city. They visited Todoroki High School, where they were again able to reconnect with friends whom they had previously met on exchange in 2011. They were welcomed to the school in grand style, as the drumming club performed an exciting and energetic musical number in our morning assembly. Students participated in a traditional Japanese cooking class and took part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. They also observed a range of club activities, from swimming to baton twirling. The much-anticipated visit to Tokyo DisneySea did not disappoint, as students spent the day with their host sisters and brothers journeying to the centre of the earth, tackling the Tower of Terror, and stocking up on all-important Mickey Mouse ears! The final day of the trip was spent browsing through the wonders of Akihabara Electric Town and the fashion mecca that is Harajuku.
The benefits of including overseas travel in the curriculum are clear, but over and above these, it is the memories made and friendships forged that will last a lifetime – Domo arigato.