Twenty-five Japanese students immersed themselves in Blue Mountains life recently, courtesy of an exchange program run by St Columba’s High School.
The Japanese visitors from sister school Hokusetsu Sanda Senior High School in the Osaka district in Japan spent two weeks studying English and other subjects at the Catholic school while also enjoying a range of excursions including a visit to Scenic World in Katoomba; and Murumittigar Aboriginal Centre and Featherdale Farm in Sydney’s west.
“The St Columba’s and Japanese students benefited greatly from the experience,” said St Columba’s Japanese teacher Shizue Sato.
“Without the kind support, dedication and understanding of the language and cultural barriers (by host families and classroom teachers), this program would have never been possible.”
The Japanese students had English as a Second Language lessons in the morning and classes with their host sister or brother in the afternoon. Special guests at their welcome ceremony included Hiroyuki Yamada and Romana Pomering from the Consulate General of Japan and sister city spokesperson Colleen Kime, among others.
More than 150 guests attended the students’ farewell party where the visiting students wore traditional kimonos and heard speeches from St Columba’s bilingual students from Years 10 and 11, including Meaghan Zarb, Aiden Robinson, Samantha Pronger, Daniel Morris and Matthew Dibiase.
Principal Delma Horan said there was a strong commitment and interest to the study of the Japanese language and culture at the college.