Japanese students studying abroad in Adelaide

Interviewed by Hiroki from You Yu Adelaide magazine, published in Vol. 52, page 11

Taking time off from their Japanese schooling to study at an Adelaide public primary school for 6 months are three members of this family, all here on a study-abroad program together. Linden Park Primary School has a relatively large number of international students and provides a high level of support, allowing the two children to make the most of their time here soaking up a new culture and spoken English more and more each day.

Why Study Abroad?

With her own experience of an American homestay while she was a high school student, Eriko and Reiko’s mother, Mikiko also wanted her own children to experience another culture and broaden their minds. After hearing that children are best suited to acquiring language until about 9 years of age, Mikiko turned her plans into reality. With her two daughters in Years 1 and 4 of primary school, the three began studying here in July 2012 thanks to the encouraging support of her husband, Takahiro, who has stayed in Japan to work.

With all the friends she had made during her own American homestay, Mikiko first thought about taking the family there, but after some research she discovered that Australian primary school international study programs are of an exceptional standard. “The vast continent of Australia is in stark contrast to the small island country that is Japan. Of all of Australia, I was drawn to the compact and ‘easy to live in’ state capital city of Adelaide.

Reiko

Starting School

“I want to stay here forever.” Mikiko was surprised to hear her daughter Reiko suddenly say this on the way home from her first day of school. After asking more about it, Reiko said that all of her classmates were kind and open, and she found it a really comfortable place to be. This was an unexpectedly great start for Reiko especially considering that, although she had studied English a little before, when she arrived and was immersed in English, she felt she frustrated at not even being able to properly follow conversations.

ErikoEriko, who had only just begun primary school in Japan, is a very careful and precise girl. At first she found it stressful not being able to fully understand English nor express what she wanted to say, but she is gradually understanding more and more and is beginning to get used to living here.

At school, Reiko has joined the netball club and Eriko is looking forward to starting cricket this term. Apart from these sports, the girls go to trampoline and gymnastics lessons, and make sure that they study hard when they get home, really keeping busy and making the most of every day.

 The Joy of People’s Friendliness

For international primary school students that have low level English skills there is an intensive English language course called IPEC. Reiko and Eriko both study this course while going to normal primary school classes with Australian and other international students. Both girls have improved their English abilities more than they expected and are growing their circle of friends. Mikiko first thought it was a little strange when Reiko said “I want to stay here forever”, but while the girls go to school she has begun studying English at community centres, making new friends and she is beginning to understand what Reiko meant. “The freedom and joy I get from people’s friendliness really makes me happy. I am also starting to feel sad now thinking that the day we have to go home is drawing closer.”

They are already half way through their 6 month study-abroad program and they are increasingly making the most of their time here in Adelaide.

Visit the South Australian Government Schools website for more great stories from our students.
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日本の小学校を休学してアデレードの公立小学校に半年間の予定で親子留学中の西脇さんファミリー。留学生も比較的多くサポートも充実したLinden Park Primary Schoolで、2人の子どもたちは異文化や生の英語をどんどん吸収して充実した毎日を過ごしている。

留学のきっかけ

高校生のときにアメリカへの留学経験を持つ母親の美貴子さんは、自分の子どもたちにも異文化を体験して視野を広げて欲しいと考えていた。そして、語学の習得には9歳頃までが適していると聞いて計画が具体化。現在日本で仕事を続ける夫の隆博さんの積極的なサポートもあり、2012年7月、小学校1年生、4年生の2人の娘と母親のアデレード親子留学が始まった。

最初は自分の留学経験から知り合いも多いアメリカへの親子留学を考えたという美貴子さんだが、調べていくとオーストラリアの小学校留学の受け入れ制度が充実していることを知った。「小さな島国の日本とは対照的な広い大陸のオーストラリア。中でも州都でありながらコンパクトで生活しやすいアデレードに惹かれました」。

学校が始まった

「ずっとここにいたい」。れい子さんが小学校登校初日の帰り道にいきなり言い出した言葉に美貴子さんは驚いた。聞いてみると、友達がみんな親切で、さっぱりしていて、居心地良く感じたのだという。留学前から多少英語は勉強していたものの、実際に英語の生活に入ってみると満足に聞き取れず返事すら何もできない中、れい子さんの留学生活は思わぬほど順調なスタートだった。

日本での小学生生活も始まってまだ間もない江里子さんは、慎重で几帳面な性格もあって英語が完全に聞き取れないことや言いたいことを伝えられないストレスはあるようだが、徐々に英語の聞き取りやこちらでの生活に慣れ始めている。

学校のクラブ活動でれい子さんはネットボールを楽しみ、江里子さんは今タームから始まるクリケットを心待ちにしている。また、それ以外にも学校が終わったあとはトランポリンや新体操に通い、帰宅後はしっかり勉強も忘れない忙しくも充実した毎日の2人だ。

人が温かい心地よさ

小学校には英語がまだあまりできない留学生のためにIPECと呼ばれる集中英語コースがあり、れい子さんと江里子さんはそこで英語を学びながらも、現地の通常のクラスでオーストラリア人や他の国からの留学生のクラスメートと一緒に授業を受けている。英語は本人たちが思う以上に伸びていて、友達の輪も広がっている。「ずっとここにいたい」と言い切ったれい子さんを少し不思議な気持ちで聞いていた美貴子さんだが、子どもたちが学校に行っている間に自分もコミュニティセンターで英語を勉強して友達ができるようになり、その意味が分かるようになってきたという。「自由だけれど人が温かい心地良さが嬉しいです。私ももうすでに帰る日が近づいているのがさびしい気持ちです」。

6ヵ月の留学期間も残りあと半分。西脇さんファミリーのアデレード親子留学生活はますます充実していく。

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