A group of Japanese exchange students recently visited Ladysmith Secondary.

Lasting impression on students

Japanese exchange students return home after a week of laughter and learning at Ladysmith Secondary

They may not have been able to speak much English, but without saying scarcely a word, the 40 Japanese students recently visiting from Yokohama provided an invaluable, rewarding cultural experience to the students at Ladysmith Secondary School.

The visit is an annual event that takes place every year, said LSS instructor Shawn O’Toole. It started approximately six years ago. The Grade 9 students stay in pairs with host families in the community and spend six school days at LSS, doing a variety of activities.

“We took them curling, we took them to the Chemainus First Nation for some cultural activities, they put on their own little cultural fair here, and we do sports afternoons,” O’Toole said.

Japanese instructor Junichi Yukimatsu said many of the students will return to Canada after graduation because of the time spent in Ladysmith.

“They’ve had a good experience because it’s natural for them to receive lessons in Japanese but in Canada, they have to receive lessons, all subjects, in English,” he said. “First experience [has] made all students so happy, very excited, I’ve noticed shining eyes and smiling.”

“I love this school’s atmosphere.”

In speaking with a handful of the visiting students, many said they enjoyed the Canadian hospitality and playing soccer with the students, and giving back.

“Japanese culture introduced to Canadian students; origami, calligraphy, traditional dance,” they said.

For most of the students, aged 14 to 15, it is the first time they have visited outside of Japan, making communication difficult but rewarding.

“It’s about being creative,” O’Toole said. “The [Canadian] students appreciate the challenge to come into a place where they don’t speak the language. It helps them appreciate that the world is a bigger place.”

LSS is also annually host to about 20 international students on six to 12 month exchanges from everywhere from Germany to Turkey, O’Toole said.

Students Jennika Erickson, in Grade 10, and Kira Shiell, Grade 8, say the experience has helped them learn to communicate better.

“You have to use your hands a lot,” Erickson said.

“For them to learn English reminds me of what it was like for us when we learned French,” Erickson said.

“Some really get it, some have a harder time with it.”

Shiell said the visit has been very educating for not only the Japanese students, but the Canadians, too.

“It’s interesting seeing the different cultures. They’ll give you something every time you talk to them, like a little eraser or gift,” she said.

Just Posted

Caps fall to Clippers in Nanaimo on Friday night

Clippers’ tying and winning goals come in less than a minute

Cowichan school district approves women’s winter shelter

The Cowichan Valley School District’s board of education has approved in principle… Continue reading

North Cowichan is Canada’s hot spot on Wednesday

The Warmland lives up to its name

Ladysmith Secondary School improv still groovy after 20 years

Catch performances Nov. 15th, 16th, 17th and 22nd, 23rd and 24th

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

Vancouver Island remembers

Important stories shared as Islanders salute those who made the greatest sacrifice

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

Most Read