Konnichiwa! Newington hosts students from Japan
Newington College recently welcomed 10 Japanese exchange students from Kaimei High School, Osaka: Issei, Natsumi, Nichika, Akira, Takao, Shuntaro, Kanata, Hiroki, Daichi and Shuma.
Although their time at Newington was brief, they brought a charming, enthusiastic attitude stemming from an eagerness to not only improve their English, but also meet new friends and explore Sydney. This exchange is a testament to the College’s presence on the international stage; one of many opportunities that allow students to embrace different cultures.
Ten Year 10 students – Ethan Haffenden (10/KL), Dhruv Kumar (10/JN), Cameron Ma (10/PR), Arky Wild (10/FL), Daniel Bordina (10/ME), Flynn Mooney (10/FL), Oscar Liu (10/ME), Jonah Holmes (10/MO), Jack Lu (10/JN) and Woojin Lee (10/MO) – volunteered to host the Japanese students, bringing them to some of our classes as well as showing them around the school during recess and lunch.
A highlight was a soccer match pitting the Japanese students against their respective buddies during lunch on Old Boys Oval. The Japanese students showed off their skills, with precision passing and teamwork nearly scraping the win, only to be stopped by the quick hands of goalie Oscar Liu. Man of the Match went to Natsumi, who was the true anchor of his team.
Arguably the toughest moment was saying goodbye. Huddled in a classroom in the Tupou College Centre, the Japanese students began the farewell with an interesting talk about their background.
Kaimei High School, in the second largest city in Japan, is much smaller than Newington. It sits in only one building, across multiple floors. It is a co-ed school with 40 students per class and 8 classes per grade. The name ‘Kaimei’ comes from the words ‘Kai’ meaning ‘open’ and ‘mei’ meaning ‘right’. The word ‘Kaimei’ combined means “advanced and wise”.
A highlight of the short presentation was a rendition of “Tabidachi no Hi Ni”, a famous Japanese graduation song. It was sung with enthusiasm, pride and passion, each chorus harmonised, making it very difficult for some of us to hold back the tears.
Finishing with a short demonstration of the traditional Japanese skill toy kendama, we said our final goodbyes, receiving affectionate speeches and cards from our Japanese buddies. Outside of school, they were able to see iconic attractions such as Manly and Bondi Beach and the Opera House, as well as visiting Featherdale Wildlife Park and riding horses in Glenworth Valley.
Before they departed, I had the chance to ask some of the students questions about their time in Australia
What was your favourite thing about Newington?
Issei: I liked the school crest (the wyvern) as it looks like Harry Potter’s uniform.
Natsumi: I liked the school grounds.
Akira: I liked the campus, especially the buildings, as well as it being very big.
What do you like most about Australia?
Akira: The view of the city from the harbour.
Issei: I liked the pies, especially the chicken pie.
Natsumi: Visiting the Blue Mountains.
Nichika: The people.
On behalf of the students, I thank all of the staff involved in ensuring the Japanese boys had a wonderful time at Newington, especially Ms Aiken, Mr Branson and Ms Wang. I would like to also thank all the volunteers, especially host families, English teachers and Ms Fukomoto, one of many fabulous Japanese guides.