South Australia is a popular destination for Study Tours due to the close proximity of wildlife parks, the beach and beautiful regional environments to the capital city of Adelaide. This year has been our busiest yet for Study Tours with groups of students arriving from all over the world for a short term study experience in South Australian Government Schools.
One group we were particularly delighted to welcome was from Hachioji Junior High School in Japan, as this was their first South Australian Government Schools Study Tour.
Hachioji Junior High School Study Tour
The group of 86 students, accompanied by their teachers and tour escorts, arrived in Adelaide on Saturday 19 July to start their 11-day Study Tour hosted across 6 regional government schools. They were met by a South Australian Government Schools representative who then assisted them onto the buses taking them to their host schools and waiting host families.
The focus of their visit was English tuition and school integration, however, as you can imagine the rewards for both Japanese and Australian students went well beyond this as they interacted with each other, shared experiences and made friends.
Study Tours are rewarding for all
Thank you to all our participating schools who recognise the value of international education and always oblige when offered to host a Study Tour. For our regional schools in particular, it is an opportunity to share the unique attractions of their area and demonstrate their community spirit.
One school’s perspective
Fifteen of the Hachioji Junior High School group were hosted by Gawler and District College B-12 and according to the school’s Study Tour Coordinator, Larissa Paterson, the visit was enjoyed by all. The students gained a wider understanding of the Australian culture, made a lot of new friends and had the opportunity to put into practice their English conversation skills.
Below is an account of the Study Tour experience of the Hachioji Junior High School students at Gawler and District College B-12:
‘At the beginning they were a little tentative to speak using their English skills, but with patience and encouragement from everyone they gradually began using their English more and more.
The first day saw them in EALD [English] lessons in the morning and then attend a Welcome Ceremony with host family members, their school ‘buddies’ and students from both junior and secondary school in attendance. They were warmly welcomed by the Principal, Mr Andrew Dickinson and each student was handed a gift bag full of Australian souvenirs.
They attended ICT and sent home an email to their families and then participated in an Art class, decorating a boomerang and learning how to draw Australian animals. They did a great job and were happy to take their final product away at the end of the lesson.
The morning recess break and also lunchtime every day was an opportunity for the students to mingle with their ‘buddies’, practice their English as well as share cultural differences. As the week wore on the interaction between the students increased enormously as both Japanese and Australian students became more comfortable with each other.
Day three was the full day excursion, which was a break from the more formal school setting. The host family brothers or sisters went along as well as the ‘buddies’ to complete a happy bunch on the coach. Every student had at least one hold of a koala and were surprised how soft and cuddly they were. The hit was definitely the wallabies and small young kangaroos who were happy with the attention and food. Our final stop was the Woodside Chocolate Factory. Everyone was able to try samples of the confectionary and see how they were made. Many bags were purchased to eat both on the trip home to the college and to take back to Japan.
Day four saw Australian Cooking making lamingtons, which they really enjoyed. All the students made a container full of the chocolate cakes and took them home to share with their host families. The afternoon saw time in Agriculture at the farm. They were given a tour of the farm by the Agriculture teacher and a few students, who demonstrated how they look after the animals and birds including goats, chickens, ducks, llama and cattle. The students were surprised that a school could have a working farm and that the Australian students could take Agriculture as a subject.
On the weekend the students enjoyed valuable time with their host families. Some had the weekend away at shacks on the peninsula while others enjoyed bbq’s, bonfires, trips to Adelaide, boating down the River Murray and attending host family functions where they were introduced to friends and extended family members of their hosts.
The last school day, day 6, saw the students enjoying painting Gawler’s floral emblem of the bottle brush on hand-made paper bookmarks. At the lunch break the ‘buddies’ said their good-byes to their respective student and a few tears were shed. The afternoon session saw the students back into the junior Japanese classes with a computer program, which they really enjoyed. The last lesson of the day saw them expressing their drama talents imitating animals.
In the evening the host families, some ‘buddies’ and members of leadership and school council attended Sayonara. There were presentations of host family certificates, Hachioji Junior student participation certificates as well as gifts and acknowledgement of the support of the student body ‘buddies’. A big thank you was also given to the host families for their support of the program and welcoming the students into their homes and the support of the teaching staff from the school. The families remarked how much they enjoyed the experience and look forward to doing it again.’