Principle’s Blog – Exchange Agreements with overseas schools. Jan 31st 2023

On Tuesday the 17th of January, 30 students from Sehwa Girl’s Middle School in Korea, along with the Principal Mr. Jin and five other staff members visited Shoin Junior High School. The main purpose of the visit was a cultural exchange and to experience some classes at Shoin. At the same time, an exchange agreement was forged making Shoin and Sehwa Middle school in Korea sister schools.
On the day, students from Sehwa enjoyed a music lesson using ukuleles, painting a Japanese-style “beckoning cat” in an art lesson, Japanese origami and various other traditional forms of play. Afterwards, the students ate lunch together with Shoin students and enjoyed further cultural exchanges. Although the Korean and Japanese students didn’t understand each other’s language, they used English along with gestures and body language to break the ice and communicate with each other successfully.
This is now the third exchange agreement forged with an overseas school. Sehwa Middle school in Korea, along with Shokou Girl’s School in Taiwan and St. Mary’s College in New Zealand have all become partners with Shoin. The main aspects of the exchange agreements are visiting each other’s school, sending and receiving exchange students, and online learning and cultural exchange meetings. In fact, at the end of last year, fifteen Shoin students returned from a three-month study abroad trip to New Zealand, and this year at the end of March, Shoin students are planning a trip to Sehwa Girl’s Middle School in Korea.
Not only students in New Zealand, but also those in Taiwan and Korea can comfortably communicate in English, and all international exchanges are conducted in English. Students in Japan undergo hours and hours of English lessons, yet very few are capable of communicating in English. There are many reasons for this lack of communication ability, but I feel the main reason is that Japan is an island nation and Japanese students have few opportunities to use English in their everyday lives, even despite the convenience of the internet. With this in mind, we can see how important these international exchanges are for Japanese students.
Through meeting with as many foreign students as possible, having daily conversation and exchanging opinions on various themes, and experiencing life overseas, I hope we can achieve an environment where students can communicate in English with students from overseas wherever possible.