It's a dream the young men have been harbouring for two years. Liam Holmes, 16, of Glenbrook, and Luke Jones, also 16, from Faulconbridge, were recently selected for a St Columba's Catholic College six-month student exchange program to Japan.

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It's a dream the young men have been harbouring for two years. Liam Holmes, 16, of Glenbrook, and Luke Jones, also 16, from Faulconbridge, were recently selected for a St Columba's Catholic College six-month student exchange program to Japan. They left 10 days ago.

St Columba's enjoys a sister school relationship with Hokusetsu Senior High in Sanda, Japan, and students from both schools are given the opportunity to meet one another in their own country every two years.

The boys have been fans of the Japanese language and culture since they started their studies at the school in Year 8. Luke had the added impetus of a brother who also went on a Japan exchange.

They are prepared for longer hours in the classroom where 90-minute lessons are the norm and where teachers come to them, instead of the students moving from class to class.

Luke said their teachers had worked hard to "prepare them mentally and emotionally" for the challenge ahead.

"I like Japan as a culture and language, I'm looking forward to living a traditional Japanese lifestyle and having that experience. Japan is a real passion of mine," he said.

Teacher Shizue Sato said the boys had "started thinking about this opportunity from an early stage" and were "outstanding candidates ... so independent and mature but humble. They will fit into Japanese culture and society very easily."

Liam said they would continue their Australian Year 10 studies - "we're taking our textbooks" - and will also keep in touch with their teachers via the school's own education portal.

"Mum and dad said I was so lucky, they never had this when they were at school."

"It's a very successful program," Mrs Sato said. "We've never had a program last 22 years, I hope it continues."

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