The Great Wall of China and the plumes of ash from Mt Sakurajima in Japan were among the memorable highlights of an Asian study tour undertaken by 14 Japanese language and HSIE students and two staff from The Armidale School during the spring holidays, but so too was a greater undertstanding of our place in the world.
The tour aimed to improve the language skills of students whilst exposing them to historical sites and immersing themselves in the culture of two important Asian countries.
First stop was Beijing, taking in Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, The Great Wall, and the Olympic Games site amongst others.
The second leg of the trip was to Tokyo, where the students stayed in a traditional Ryokan with the tatami floor and slept on a futon. Here they took in many different areas including
Studio Ghibli, Asakusa and Akihabara, before catching the bullet train to Kyoto to visit its shrines and temples.
The group also visited the moving A-bomb museum in Hiroshima, stayed overnight on the island, Miyajima, famous for the red Torii Gate, and also spent time at Kagoshima, watching the volcano, Sakurajima erupt in the distance.
The last stop was to TAS’s sister school Meitoku, a strong sporting school that has produced world champion baseballers, sumo wrestlers and golfers. Three students stayed on for a school exchange until the end of the year.
“I’ve also become a lot more confident in my Japanese speaking and reading, after having to speak and read it on a daily basis,” said Jonathon Chamberlain.
“The trip also really widened my perspective of the world, and how two very different cultures, like Japan and Australia, can be both similar and dissimilar. Everyone knows the big cultgural differences, but it’s the little things – how clean the cities are, or what the food’s like, or even how many vending machines there are – which really shows what makes each culture unique.”