Japanese engagement at St James’ has just entered a new phase. Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to Japan by the Japanese Government branch titled, ‘The Japan Foundation’. This whirlwind tour was designed to open international opportunities for our students in the coming years.
Our tour included 20 Principals from all around Australia and New Zealand who were exposed to a snapshot of Japanese culture. The trip included visits to the Australian Embassy in Tokyo, Shinto Shrines, Buddhist Temples, Kyoto, the Tokyo Skytree and many other local attractions.
The main purpose was to visit the Board of Education and the Japan Foundation and begin to develop a relationship with a sister school in Japan. This will allow our students in 2018 to visit Japan on our first International Tour. This will likely be a mix of cultural engagement as well as home-stay opportunities. Having been on a similar tour with my last school, I have personally seen how the tour changes lives and helps bridge the gaps between distant cultures. The world is a better place with these interactions and our children are better global citizens.
With Japanese being our language of choice, I hope to see our whole community embrace the 18 Year 8 students who will be visiting us in July. We will be fortunate to have these students from the Tokyo region visit our school and engage with our students. I see this as a great opportunity to initiate a strong relationship with students from Japan and it may well lead to an ongoing exchange program.
School is about academic progress, cultural awareness and acceptance of others. Diversity is not only expected in our school, it is openly encouraged. This can be through sports, drama, music, the Arts and in this case, language and travel. Meeting people, respecting them, accepting their cultural differences and making the global community more united is what we should all strive for.
Mr Adrian Pree