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Japanese high school students visit the region

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Bundaberg North State High School Principal Robyn Kent with students.

Twenty students from Hakuo High School in Japan will spend the next week learning about Australian culture through a buddy program with Bundaberg North State High School.

The school is the first in Queensland to welcome back international students since the Covid pandemic began two years ago, with Bundaberg North State High School Principal Robyn Kent welcoming the opportunity.

“We have welcomed back our first tour group since the start of the pandemic and we are actually the first school in Queensland to welcome back international students,” Robyn said.

“We are hoping that we are going to be able to give the students an experience about the beautiful Bundaberg city and some of the Australian culture.

“We are looking at opportunities to have the students take part in some English lessons while they are here but also experience places like Bundaberg Brewed Drinks and Snakes Downunder and also the everyday life of a student at an Australian high school.”

Robyn said the opportunity is beneficial for both the visiting students and the local students providing an opportunity to share cultures and meet new people.

“This is beneficial for both students, with the Japanese students coming to us they are hoping to improve their English and understanding of Australian culture.

“For our students, they will pick up a bit of the Japanese language for themselves and of course our students who are studying Japanese are going to also have those students coming into their classroom and helping to share their culture.

“It is a win-win for both sides and we are really looking forward to the experience.”

The group from Hakuo High School consists of 11 boys and nine girls aged between 14-17 years, along with three teachers and a tour guide who are accompanying them.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said it was very exciting for the region to be welcoming the students to Bundaberg North State School, with the close links that currently exist between Bundaberg and Japan.

“There are close links between Bundaberg and Japan through our language education classes, cultural exchanges and a sister city relationship with Settsu,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“These enduring ties bring us closer together, improve understanding and create lifelong connections.

“It is great to welcome the students of Hakuo to the region and we hope they enjoy their time here.”

Hakuo High School teacher Kazuhiro Aoki said he hoped the opportunity provided his students the chance to improve their English skills, while gaining an understanding of Australian culture.

“This is a two week studying abroad program where the student study English and science and we hope this provide students the opportunity to improve their English skills while also gaining knowledge of the nature in Australia.

“I hope the students are positive and able to learn something new while working towards being better English speakers.

“The students will spend time at Bundaberg North State High School, while also visiting the university and experience science experiments.

“I am really looking forward to enjoying being out in nature as this is something we don’t have in Japan.”

During their stay the students will be visiting CQU for three days of a STEM program as well as going to Snakes Down Under for the koala experience.

The remainder of their time will be at Bundaberg North State High School with two hour English lessons and integrated activities with the students.

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