16 January 2019

Japanese students help Kiwis to think global

Marlborough high school students have had their eyes opened to all things Japanese, thanks to a long-standing sister school relationship with Jissen Gakuen in Tokyo, Japan.

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Marlborough Girl’s College Principal, Ms Mary-Jeanne Lynch, presents Jissen Gauken students with their certificates of attendance.

“Our relationship with Jissen Gakuen has developed slowly over a twenty-two-year period. This has helped ensure that it is not only sustainable, but benefits everyone involved,” said Wayne Hegarty, Principal Marlborough Boys’ College. 

Each year, students from Jissen, a co-educational junior and senior school, spend between eight days and one year studying in the Marlborough region.

“We’ve recently hosted a group of students who had the most fantastic stay,” said Zoe Gray, International Director at Marlborough Girls’ College.

“They made lifelong bonds with their new Kiwi friends in such a short amount of time – they were so upset about leaving that it took the visiting students a whole two hours to get on the bus to start their trip home.”

“We’re told the visiting teachers and students thoroughly enjoyed their time here in Marlborough and can’t stop talking about it now they’re back home. 

“It’s been a wonderful opportunity for our local students too. The ‘buddies’ have benefitted significantly from the experience.”

“Supporting our students to develop global skills is an important part of our curriculum.” 

During their stay in Marlborough, the Japanese students are either hosted by a local family with young people of a similar age or are partnered up with a buddy at school. This buddy programme encourages and supports local students to develop leadership skills, interact with students from other cultures, and form international connections.   

As part of the education relationship with Jissen Gakuen, both Marlborough Girls’ and Boys’ College offer scholarships for local students to travel to Tokyo to study at Jissen Gakuen (two boys and two girls). The Ota scholarship was first offered to year nine students in 2004. 

“The scholarships are incredibly popular and each year we receive a large number of worthy applicants. The panel’s job to select just two students from each college is incredibly difficult,” said Zoe.

“In Japan, our students are placed with host families for ten days. They study Japanese culture, help facilitate English classes and are encouraged to take part in the daily rituals of their host family.

“Supporting our students to develop global skills is an important part of our curriculum.” 

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