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Studying Abroad Pograms

Students' Impressions on Studying Abroad Programs

{March, 2009} Korea Study Tour

Progarm Outline Date: March 25rd to March 29th (5 days) Place: Seoul, the Republic of Korea

We had an exchange with Chungsan High School students for two days, and then visited Nandemun Market, Sodemun Jail Historical Museum, Nanumu House ( where some of the sex victims from the time of the war live together) , Toniru Observatory and many other places.

We promoted friendship with Chungsan High School and found what thepresent Korea and Korean people are like, and got a deeper understanding about the past relationship between Japan and Korea. We had a good chance to think about what is important to promote further friendship between Japan and Korea.

What I felt on the 2009 Korea Study Tour

by Fuka Minomoto (a first year female student )

Our visit to Korea was my first experience to visit a foreign country, I felt uneasy at first.In addition to that, we planned to stay there for 5 days.I wondered whether everything would be all right.

On the first day, we saw the sights in Seoul and ate toppokki(a Korean dish) .I was overwhelmed when I was spoken to by many clerks of various shops there.At the Sodemon Jail Historical Museum, I learned about the crimes Japan committed in the past. I didn't know what to say and felt sad deep in my heart when I saw the exhibitons which showed how Korean people at that time had been tortured.

On the second day, we visited the Nanumu House, where what are known as "comfort women" live together, and the affiliated historical museum. Mr. Murayama, a Japanese man working there, explained to us in Japanese about the exibits and videos.We learned that forcing those women to be comfort women was a kind of sexual torture.I felt quite sad after listening to his explanation.I felt, as a human and a woman, that such kind of things should never be allowed to happen; It is one of the cruelest things that humans have ever done.Ms. Mizobe said, "That's human foolishness." I could agree with her completely.We usually don't associate the phrase "comfort women" with cruelty, but they were really treated cruelly. I think it must not be easy for Japanese to work there. I respect Mr. Murayama for doing this. In the Nanumu House, there are Harumoni( sex victims from the time of war).We were lucky to meet a few of them. They were kind enough to ask us, "Don't you feel cold?" even though they were cruelly hurt by the Japanese in the past.I was moved by their words.

On the third day, we visited a boys' school, Jungsan High School, and spent a day with the students.At the school gate hung a big welcome banner. I was surprised and very happy to see it.We were warmly welcomed, and greeted by the students in the hallway.They spoke very good English.I hear they have been learning English since they were in the fourth grade of elementary school. They talk to their friends in Korean, but when they talk to me, they spoke in English.I felt ashamed that my English sounded much poorer than theirs, but when I managed to make myself understood, even with difficulty, I felt very delighted.At first I was ovewhelmed because there were only boys at Chungsan High School. But in the end we were able to become friends.In the school cafeteria I found kimchi and a lot of students eating with their plates full of food.

After school, we went to see Nanta( a Korean musical).It was very exciting. We were able to understand the story even though we didn't have any knowledge of the language.Without knowing it I pushed myself forward to appreciate their performance.I felt like I was one of the members in their performance.This was my first experience to see a musical.The group may have an opportunity to perform in Japan in the future.I want to see them again in Japan, too.

On the fourth day, the Jungsan High School students showed us around Seoul.We broke into groups and enjoyed shopping and eating Korean food.Though we sometimes found it difficult to communicate using words, our conversation hardly ever stopped.The Korean boys were tall and very kind to us. It was impressive that they were so positive.I was glad that they knew some Japanese singers and animations.

On the fifth day, we unfortunately had to change our plan to visit Tora observatory. Instead we went to another observatory and looked at North Korea with telescopes.In the observatory we found exhibitions showing North Korean homes, clothing and food.South and North Koreans are currently hostile to each other, but I know well that they hope to re-unify the two sides.At the Bridge of Freedom, a lot of sheets of paper with their wishes for re-unfication written on them made me think that the re-unfication should be realized soon, as so many people hope for it.

In the Korean Study Tour I was able to have a unique experience.I will never forget what I learned at Sodemon Jail Museum and Nanumu House, and tell other people about what I learned. Japanese don't talk about their past misdeeds at all, only talking about the damages we suffered instead.I think that's quite shameful.The victims called "comfort women" are not satisfied with Japanese attitudes. Japan should compensate for their damages in some way or another.We have to find a good solution with which both sides can be satisfied.

In this tour I noticed that we should study and get to know better the history of our own country.During the first two days I got kind of homesick and felt like going back to Japan, but as time passed I got more accustomed to the new place and I was able to enjoy the exchange with Chungsan High School.When I had to leave, I didn't want to.

In the end, however, I like Japan best.

   
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{July-August,2006} Australia Homestay Program

Project Outline Date: July 29th to August 14th (17 days) Place: Adelaide, Australia Participants: 20 Students (11th and 12th Graders)                1 Teacher from Hanazono Sponsor: PTA International Exchange Committee

This summer my dream of going to a foreign country came true. I have wanted to try my English in a foreign country for a long time, even if I cannot speak English well or make myself understood.

On July 29th, I left Japan and went to Australia with big hopes and fears. It was such a long flight. It took us about 7 hours to get to Singapore. Then we changed planes. Though it was only 8:00 PM, I was very sleepy. Another long flight to Adelaide, about 6 hours, made us much more tired. The seat was uncomfortable, so I couldn't sleep well. After the long long flight, we arrived in Adelaide at last. I remember how excited I was.

My host family waited at Gawler High School. My first impression of them was good, so I was relieved. I tried to talk with any words and gestures that I could use. I acted on my own initiative, Gawler High School was a great place. There were a lot of nice and kind people there and they were so friendly. I could make many friends there, and I will certainly keep in touch with them. It is nice to have friends outside Japan. I had so many experiences there, and I enjoyed everything. The most impressive event was visiting the elementary school and teaching Japanese calligraphy to the pupils. It was a wonderful experience for me. The children really welcomed us and enjoyed writing Kanji. I was glad to visit that school.

On holidays I went to church with my family. I had never been to a church before. I listened to Christ's teachings for about 3 hours in the very cold room and sang songs, which I couldn't understand at all. I only remember that I was so sleepy then. After that, I went sightseeing with my family by car. The best place I visited was the sea. I could see a nice view of the sunset there. Australia has many beautiful and natural places.

It was a nice trip to develop myself. My experiences were too many to write about. I came to consider things internationally and broadened my horizons.I compared Australian cultures, customs, mind, and their sense of value with Japanese ones. They were so different and interesting. It is really fun for me to learn about foreign countries.

I do want to visit various countries in the future.

Written by K.M. (Class 43) Edited by Jim and Damien, our native teachers.

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{July-August,2003} Australia Homestay Program

Project Outline Date: July 26th to August 11th (17 days) Place: Adelaide, Australia Participants: 13 Students (11th and 12th Graders)             1 Teacher from Hanazono Sponsor: PTA International Exchange Committee

 I home-stayed with a family in Australia last summer. At first, I hesitated to apply for this program, because I can't speak English very well and I was anxious about going to Australia for two weeks . But I thought that it would be a good chance, so I joined this program.

 The day I left for Australia finally came. I was thinking more and more about the homestay and the host family. Next day, we arrived at Valley View Secondary School. It was a big building and had a large playground. Our host families were waiting for us there, and at last I met them. My host family had three members: Robyn, the mother, and Sarah and David, her children. My host buddy was David. He is fourteen and he likes dirt bikes. He dislikes Brussels sprouts. Sarah is eighteen and she likes shopping. They asked me some questions and talked to me on the way to their house, so I felt relaxed and wasn't anxious at all. When I didn't understand any words, they changed them into plain English and used expressions that I could easily understand. When we arrived at their house, I realized how much bigger Australian houses are compared to those in Japan.

 I went out with my host family. David took me to Adelaide zoo, and showed me various Australian animals, such as koala, kangaroo, wallaby, wombat, echidna, possum, dingo, platypus, emu and kookaburra. Next it was Sarah's turn to take me out; we decided to go shopping. We talked about many things such as clothes, music, our likes and dislikes. I was surprised that we were so soon talking like friends! I also went shopping with my host mother and chose some souvenirs for my family and friends. I bought stuffed dolls, post cards, key rings, accessories, foods and so on. I had many good experiences in Australia. We went on a tour with some Valley View Secondary School students, and we went to Adelaide City, Victor Harbor, Granite Island and Adelaide Hills. Adelaide City is one of the big cities in Australia. We went shopping there. We saw a beautiful view of Victor Harbor. Then we rode in a horse and carriage across the bridge and we arrived at Granite Island. There we saw some penguins, but they were in nesting holes, so we couldn't see them very well. Later we went to Adelaide Hills and we saw many Australian animals. Some animals weren't in cages, so I was able to touch a kangaroo.

 Apart from the day trips, we also went to VVSS to study English. In the English lessons we took, Mrs. Richards, our teacher was very kind. She taught us many words in plain English, like Australian animal's names, greetings and so on; and we had a good cultural and language exchange with the Valley View students. We learned about Aboriginal cultures with them. We made a damper, which is a type of Aboriginal bread. And we did body painting. An Aboriginal boy painted a rainbow serpent on our arms in white ink. Then we took part in a traditional Aboriginal dance. Some Aboriginal people were chanting and playing the Digiridoo for this. It was very interesting!!

 All the families and students were very gentle, friendly and nice to us, and I was pleased to have stayed with them and experienced many things. I will always have pleasant memories of these experiences. Since I took part in this program I've become more interested in English. I also realized from this trip that I would need to practice my conversational skills more so to communicate better with native speakers. So from now on I'll study it harder and I will try to speak it more. And of course I would like to go to Australia again!!

Written by Yageyama, an 11th Grade Student Edited by Jim, our native English teacher