Study Tour to Japan

img_0110-copy.jpgReflections on The Study Tour to Japan 2017

Japan was an enriching experience that allowed us to talk and bond with people that we never thought we would encounter.

Our small group of 13 students and 2 teachers allowed both the Year 10s and 11s to experience new friendships that will last a lifetime. Throughout the course of the tour, the friendship between the students was often tested as we were extremely 'up close and personal' for 4 weeks. However, through these 'ups and downs', we prevailed and could enjoy the trip. This also allowed us to lean on each other in times of sadness and homesickness, especially in the Christmas season.

The Japan Study Tour group explored both modern and traditional aspects of Japan. Modern – included the schools, enormous shopping centres, bullet trains and skyscrapers. Traditional – included tea ceremonies, wearing kimono and onsen (hot spring baths). We immersed ourselves into the culture of Japan and picked up a few quirky Japanese phrases along the way.

The first week was the longest as each of us would be apart from each other as we were staying with host families. The experience with the host families was by far the most nerve racking for all of us, as we had to speak all day in Japanese! However, all the families welcomed us with open arms and our fears quickly dissolved.

Our Japan school experience did prove challenging as many of us were thrown into the chaos of public transport in a busy city. We also had to complete lessons with the Japanese students and we were constantly asked to take 'selfies'.

After our home stay and school in Kagoshima on the southernmost island of Japan, we travelled northwards through Japan, visiting the Peace Park in Hiroshima, the beautiful temples and shrines of Kyoto, the modern cities of Tokyo and Osaka and the snow monkeys of Nagano!

Overall, the tour was an amazing opportunity and experience. I highly recommend it to anyone studying Japanese and am so thankful to have had an amazing group of peers to share this journey. I will cherish the experiences I had with my host family and now my "study tour family". I will keep in close contact with them and the people I met for many years to come. This was the making of life-long friendships and life-long learning.

Rachael Mitchell