Columba College welcomed eight students and two staff members from Hibiya High School in Tokyo from 2-9 August.
It is the second subsequent year that Hibiya High School has enjoyed a cultural and educational visit to our school and it was certainly a thrill to see them integrate themselves so confidently with all year levels of students throughout the week. The group enjoyed four nights with their Columba homestay families who treated the girls to some delicious ‘Kiwi’ fare, fabulous sightseeing and lasting friendships.
Mrs Murdoch took the group to the Catlins last Saturday to visit the rugged Nugget Point Lighthouse, the stunning Purakanui Falls, culminating with lunch in Owaka - where the cheese rolls and pies went down a treat for the visiting group! The girls were also thrilled with our unique wildlife at the Orokonui Ecosanctuary and marvelled at our beautiful cityscape and peninsula on a Dunedin Sights Tour.
During the week, the Hibiya group collaborated with the Year 8 Social Studies students to discuss aspects of Global Studies and Global Education in relation to the cultural and social differences in our education systems and elements of successful career planning and work/life balance. The group also had wonderful senior Columba ‘buddies’ who gave them feedback on their well-prepared presentations over a shared lunch and they also took them to many senior NCEA classes to experience our classroom culture and content. The Hibiya group entertained the Year 0-1 students in Ms Eason’s room for a morning with storytelling, origami making and Japanese snacks. They also enjoyed a Te Rēo session with Ms Rose, where the Hibiya girls participated in a lovely mihi sharing session and gained confidence in learning many words and phrases to share with their families back home. Of particular note was the stunning singing the school enjoyed in assembly with the Hibiya girls’ renditions of their school song, ‘Let it Go’ and ‘Po Kare Kare Ana’.
The eight girls had the exciting opportunity to live in our boarding hostel for the last three nights of their stay. They enjoyed meals in the dining room, wonderful hospitality from our boarding house students and made genuine relationships and connections with our students across all levels of the school.
After this action-packed week, we extend our heartfelt thanks to our fantastic homestay families and the boarding house students for their kind hospitality of the Hibiya High School group and we sadly wave ‘sayonara’ to our new friends from Hibiya whom we will miss dearly – until next time!