Our trips help promote both language skills and cultural awareness in our girls. These excursions run every alternate year when enough students warrant.
In 2016, nineteen San Sisters embarked on a three week Japanese immersion trip.
The first ten days of the trip were spent in the depths of Kyushu island – more specifically, the Kumamoto Prefecture. During these ten days, all students and teachers were immersed in traditional Japanese culture and language. Everyone tried their best to speak as much Japanese as possible, picking up small phases and dialect from each town along the way. They visited the most anticipated Kumamoto Castle, before heading to the active volcano, Mt Aso. They journeyed into the Japanese bush to the mountainous land of Gokanasho, where they participated in making tofu and learnt about the history of the Heike clan and the legacy they left upon Japan. They experienced a warm welcome from Shirayuri Gakuen (a Catholic girls’ school), in Yatsushiro. Shirayuri Gakuen was where they had their very first homestay. The last of the time in Kyushu was spent in Amakusa and Unzen, where they had the opportunity to do rice planting, go to Shimabara Castle and go dolphin watching!
For the final eleven days of the trip, they all experienced the city life of Japan. They travelled to Nagasaki and Hiroshima, where they saw the memorials of the two atomic bombs dropped in 1945, then on to Kyoto for their second homestay. This homestay was for six nights, to give them an idea of how Japanese families operate and live on a daily basis. Their host sisters spoiled them and took many of them to places such as Arashiyama, Kinkakuji and Yasuha Shrine. Many memories were made and will be held onto forever. By the end of this homestay there were many tears from all girls, but most importantly lifelong friendships were made and will never be forgotten. The final destination was Tokyo – Japan’s capital city. Here they went shopping and had a speed-date style dinner with the Iona boys. They also got the chance to spend the day at Disneyland!
It is highly recommend to go on a tour such as this, to not just improve your language, but it also improves understanding of Japanese culture and history.