Languages News

Shane Glass - Head of Languages

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On Saturday 20 December, a group of 13 students of Japanese from Years 10 and 11 plus 3 teachers will be participating in the Study Tour to Japan for 4 weeks. Before Christmas, they will be staying with host families, attending school and practicing their Japanese speaking skills in Kagoshima on the southern island of Kyushu. The group will then travel north to Hiroshima for Christmas, spend New Year in the ancient capital of Kyoto, visit many of our lovely Japanese Language Assistants in Osaka, before catching the bullet train to Tokyo. From Tokyo they will go on a short trip into the snow-covered mountains of Nagano to visit the snow monkeys before returning back to Perth.

The Study Tour will be the culmination of a year's planning, booking, developing language skills and learning about culture and preparation for a month in Japan by the Study Tour Leaders Ms Helen Aghdasi, Ms Lauren Nish and Mr Toshi Okuzaki.

Last Saturday, as part of their preparation, the participants spent time at the College for "Survivor Japan Day".

Here is an excerpt from the journal of Rachael Mitchell - one of the survivors:

"Survivor Day  involved a basic rundown of what to expect in Japan and what to do in various situations, such as in the event of an earthquake!

The day started off with an Amazing Race, where the 13 students were divided into teams of 3 or 4 and named after various Pokemon characters, such as Pikachu. We ran around the school trying to find 7 clues that would eventually lead us back to our classroom, D6, our home base for the day. This was very challenging as it tested our stamina, patience and endurance. Qualities that are highly necessary in Japan when travelling with a large group. The day was very hot, reaching a peak of 37 degrees! We certainly needed the zooper doopers (icy poles) to survive!

We then learnt about Japanese culture, plans for our travel, how to travel smart and listen carefully to instructions. To emulate a scenario of taking in vital information whilst traveling in a foreign country, Nish Sensei gave instructions that we had to memorise, as Aghdasi Sensei and Toshi Sensei chatted loudly at the back of room. This simple task taught us to not get distracted by our surroundings, as in Japan we will be in crowded and noisy areas whilst receiving important instructions that we will need to remember.

The suitcase challenge was our next activity. We had to climb up stairs and down a ramp whilst carrying a suitcase weighing 20 kilos (see image). The time taken for each group to go around in a circle three times was recorded, the winning group being at 59 seconds! Sadly, the teachers came last at this. This was a trying activity as it simulated the experience of carrying heavy suitcases up and down stairs at various locations in Japan.

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At the end of the day, we reflected on what we had accomplished and wrote the first page of our journal, which we will have to fill out each day during our stay in Japan.

Overall, the day was highly insightful for our future journey, and presented a chance for the older students to bond with the younger students. It was extremely enjoyable for each individual, and the day could not have been accomplished without the teachers. A big thanks to Ms Helen Aghdasi; Ms Lauren Nish and Mr Toshi Okuzaki for all their hard work in organising these engaging and challenging activities for the students We look forward to spending time with them in Japan and we are very thankful to have such good teachers. Rachael

On behalf of the College and in particular the Language Team, we wish each participant on the Study Tour to Japan a safe, healthy, engaging trip with a multitude of opportunities to learn something new each and every day!

"Travel opens the mind to new experiences, the heart to stronger emotions and the hands to accept the kindness of strangers"