Hero photograph
Shotoku Gukuen Junior High School at Timaru Mayoral welcome
Photo by Cathy Shearer

Welcome to Shotoku Gakuen Junior High School students

Toyoko Kurata —

Thank you to Toyoko Kurata, English and home teacher at Shotoku Gakuen Junior and Senior High School for providing this artlicle.

We are pleased to be here Timaru at Roncalli and Craighead. 17 students and two teachers have come from Shotoku Gakuen Junior and Senior High School in Tokyo.

We are here in New Zealand from 24 July to 13 August. Students are mainly studying at Roncalli College. They have ESOL lessons,cooking and technology lessons,and lessons with their buddies,and one girl has the chance to stay at Craighead Diocesan School and study with her buddy. They can experience many activities,for example,farm visit,climbing, FlipOut trampoline, Bubble Football, visiting museums and so on. On the weekends we visit Lake Tekapo, Moeraki Boulders and Dunedin.

Shotoku Gakuen has three main goals to encourage students to grow. One of these is ‘to develop students’global minds and be international citizens’.  For this goal, students in their third year have an opportunity to go abroad to widen their own horizons. They have two choices, one is to visit Canada and the other is to New Zealand. The trip to Canada is focused on sightseeing, homestay and ESOL lessons for two weeks. Two students stay in one family. However, with the New Zealand trip, each student stays three weeks in one family. They also have more time to be with their buddies in school.

Shotoku group with Roncalli buddies — Image by: Cathy Shearer

For all of the students this is the first time visiting New Zealand and staying with homestay families. As the teachers of the Japanese student,we are pleased that our students’listening ability is getting much better and students themselves are feeling more confident. However,to speak and express their feelings is still hard work. Teachers have visited some of the home stay families. Host families are helpful and kind. Homestays are enjoying hosting our students so our students are happy and are relaxed with the families.

We have some comments from our students.

Mayu Yamaguchi,who is only a girl in this group,hoped to communicate with many people in an English environment. Now she really enjoys being here. For example,she is always asked what she wants to do,so she feels welcome and enjoys chatting with her homestay family.

Yuta Shimomura,who is a leader of this group,has found that teaching styles are different. For instance,in the science lesson,he did some experiments and then wrote reports. In other lessons,students are involved in lessons with teachers guiding what they are doing. These lesson styles are different from Japanese schools. In Japan,students need to be in class and participate in lessons. He also loves food in the homestay. He has been tasting many kinds of spices. He loves meat too!

Ryota Mikawa really enjoy talking with his buddy and his host family. He was surprised at the size of school yard and eating food in the interval. In Japanese schools,students are allowed to eat only at lunchtime. At home,his duty is light the fire. He had never done this before in Japan,so he really glad to have this duty. 

Mayu, Yuta and Ryota — Image by: Cathy Shearer

We will stay here ten more days. Until we leave here,we definitely will have fun being here and trying to talk to you.

Thank you so much for welcoming us to your community. Please visit Japan and enjoy our culture. We look forward to exchanging cultures and developing friendships.

Toyoko Kurata

English and home teacher at Shotoku Gakuen Junior and Senior High School 

The students attended a mayoral welcome, the Timaru Herald article can be found here: