Students headed to Japan for 10-day exchange
Thursday, May 16, 2013 12:38 pm
TWENTY-TWO STUDENTS AND TWO CHAPERONS FROM GEORGE MCDOUGALL HIGH SCHOOL AND BERT CHURCH HIGH SCHOOL ARE PACKING THEIR BAGS AND HEADING TO JAPAN AS PART OF AN ALL-EXPENSES-PAID 10-DAY STUDY TOUR OF THE COUNTRY.
“It’s really sudden and such a great opportunity,” said Grade 11 George McDougall student Sabreina Valenzuela-Jessa.
“And I get to go with all my friends so it’s nice.”
Students involved in the Japanese program at George McDougall are embarking on the trip courtesy of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and were one of three high school Japanese programs in Canada to be selected.
“Everything is paid for except travel insurance,” Valenzuela-Jessa said. “My mom was pretty happy.”
During the trip, students will participate in a home-stay experience with a Japanese family.
The purpose of the study trip is to encourage cultural awareness between youth of Japan and Canada and to foster long-term interest in one another by providing firsthand experiences for students in both countries, according to George McDougall Japanese teacher Jeff Casey.
“I’m sure the kids will have a great time,” he said.
He added the itinerary is very busy and gives students the opportunity to see many attractions in Japan.
“I’m really excited to try the food there,” Valenzuela-Jessa said. “I really like Japanese food (here) but I want to try the real thing.”
While spending time in Osaka, Japan, students will have the chance to visit the Golden Pavilion Temple, meet the mayor of Sakai City and meet with students from Tezukayama Junior and Senior High School, the private school they have been paired with for the exchange.
As part of the Tezukayama meeting, the Airdrie students will perform a 15-minute presentation about George McDougall High School and Canada. They will also sing This Land is Your Land and Cadillac Ranch.
Students will also have the opportunity to tour a Fujitsu communication technology plant and see the Japanese Gardens in Tokyo.
The high school kids will also get the chance to ride the shinkansen, or Japanese bullet train, which runs at speeds up to 320 kilometres per hour.
“There will be a reverse exchange when students from Japan visit Alberta and Canada,” Casey said.
The Japanese students will visit Airdrie for three days on their Canadian tour, which will be from Jan. 2 to Jan. 11, though Casey said doesn’t yet know when they will be in Airdrie.