PACIFIC MATES: Aoyama Gakuin University and Pacific Coast Christian School’s students.
PACIFIC MATES: Aoyama Gakuin University and Pacific Coast Christian School’s students. SUPPLIED

Turning Japanese

PACIFIC Coast Christian School is being visited by students from the Land of the Rising Sun.

Eighteen Students from Tokyo’s Aoyama Gakuin University are visiting Pacific from February 11 to March 5 on a cultural exchange to spend time with Australian students and learn about their daily life.

Dr Paul Shew led the students to undertake a program covering the English language, Australian home life, school life and extra-curricular activities such as church, surfing and local events.

Dr Shew said it was the students’ first time in the country.

“They are having a marvellous time and their host families are treating them wonderfully,” he said.

“They’re enjoying the differences in Australian words and we are spending a lot of time in English instruction.

“We’ve been to Byron Bay, Seaworld and Ballina, and we even went surfing at Coolangatta.”

Masaki Kota, 20, said life was “very convenient here” but he struggled with the language differences.

“In Japan almost all English is taught with an American accent, so it’s a little bit hard to understand Australian accents,” Masaki said.

“But we don’t have so many waves on Japanese beaches and I’ve really enjoyed my first time in Australia.”

Pacific’s Xanthe Bird, 13, said it was a great experience learning about Japanese culture.

“It’s really good to talk to them,” Xanthe said.

“I started learning Japanese on the day they arrived and I’d be really interested to see Japan than just hear about it.

“You really do learn a lot by seeing different countries and schools.”

Principal Dr Tina Lamont said it was the third year Pacific had hosted Aoyama Gakuin University.

“The program incorporates volunteer projects in the Tweed area, including Dune Care and visits to senior citizens and aged care facilities,” Dr Lamont said.

She said in-class education was also important for local and Japanese students to share their cultures.

“The students are a welcome addition to our school and we look forward to the University’s visit each year, we live in a global community and are excited about how Aoyama Gakuin University students enhance our students’ cultural awareness and empathy.”



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