Homestay ‘06, student evaluations jenna high points



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Homestay ‘06, STUDENT EVALUATIONS


JENNA
High points:

Meeting my host family and getting to know about them, their culture and their history personally and being able to experience it all first hand (we all cried when we had to depart such was the connection in so short a time).

ALSO

I was amazed at how honest and humble the Japanese people were. In the evening people would leave their push bikes outside and they’d still be there the next morning.



I visited a variety of Temples and Shrines where people would throw money as an offering to Buddha. The money would sit in the open – within arms reach for the taking – day and sometimes night and yet it was never touched U N B E L I E V A B L E !!

Alcohol and cigarettes were available via vending machines, yet this system was not abused in any form, shape or manner.


Low points / frustrations:

The turbulence on the plane,

raw egg and rice lunch (a one off), or

using the traditional Japanese toilet backwards!


Recommendations for improvements:

Nothing significant comes to mind as the trip was so well organized and there wasn’t anything you could fault. We were so well catered to and our hosts and organizers were just amazing!

Minor point - group involvement (i.e. the Karaoke night at Nikko was a little on the light side. It would have been better had the whole group participated).
On a personal note:

A big thank you to all concerned at the College for having given me the opportunity to experience the Japan trip. It is an experience that will stay with me forever. I sincerely hope that the reciprocal arrangement between the two countries remains intact for a very long time to come so other students will have the pleasure of being involved with the Japanese people and their culture!!



AMY
High points:

I had such a great time during the trip to Japan. I really enjoyed getting to know my host family, who were very nice, and looked after me really well. I hope to keep in touch with my host family, and it was great to be able to experience life in Tokyo as if I belonged to a Japanese family. I really enjoyed all of the places that I went to, and it was awesome to be having so many new experiences every day. I think the trip was really good in that we were able to get the most out of every day in Japan. I really enjoyed the group trips because all of the students were very nice, and it was good to have to opportunity to get to know some of them better. I also enjoyed spending time with my host family, and I learnt so much from them about Japanese culture. It was also good to have the opportunity to gain confidence in speaking Japanese, and it helped for me to be able to listen to native Japanese people speaking the language. Travelling with a group of students and staying with a host family iwas a great experience for me! I have so many fantastic memories from the trip, and so many photos! I hope that one day I will get the opportunity to return to Japan.


Low points / frustrations:

None!
Recommendations for improvements:

None!

REMY
High points:

The most enjoyable part of the trip to Japan was, in my opinion, the trip we all took to Nikko. Being able to spend time with the other students, trying the engraving and going to Edo were the highlights. Experiencing some of the Japanese culture and arts as well as a brief history lesson at the temples and shrines made the trip meaningful and memorable. We had all had a chance to get to know our home stay families a little better by then and were able to discuss the differences and similarities between them. The bus ride was full of enjoyable chatter about what we had all done in the previous days and how we could relate to our families.


Low points / frustrations:

The only real frustration on the trip was possibly how shortly it seemed to end and the first few days with the home stay family. Although my family spoke English well, I found it difficult to communicate with and get to know them in the first few days. It was hard to become accustomed to living in someone else’s house and being a part of their family. The Japanese people were warm and welcoming though and by the second and third day this problem was solved and we enjoyed each others company. Sadly though our stay ended too shortly and it was saddening to leave them. This was the only low point of the whole trip and I look forward to visiting Japan sometime in the future.


Recommendations for improvements:

The only improvements I can think of for future school trips to Japan is for the stay to be longer and the students given more time to get to know their home stay families before the actual trip over there. This would help the uncomfortable few days when we first arrived and are trying to fit into their living system.



SHELLEY
High points:

Disneyland and the trip to Nikko as it was the only time we got to spend the night together as a group. Getting to know each other better and making new friends. The whole trip was really fun.


Low points / frustrations:

Getting lost with Kavisha and not enough time shopping.


Recommendations for improvements:

None!


SINIVA
High points:

I thought the trip was totally awesome!!! It was such a nice feeling to be able to go to a foreign country, meet new people and be accepted as part of their family. Living how normal people live and experiencing their culture first hand was one of the best things about the trip. All the people were so nice and they were all extremely friendly. I enjoyed going to all the places in Japan that you only see on T.V. or in pictures and I also got the opportunity to practice Japanese with native speakers and learn more about Japanese culture. Definitely the highlight of my year so far and I can’t wait to go back!!!!


Low points / frustrations:

None
Recommendations for improvements:

None

KAVISHA
High points:

Well Japan was awesome. I had many high points during my stay in Japan. I came in as a complete stranger into a country of which I didn't know much about. When at first I was introduced to my host family I felt as though I would stay at their place and when with my group, I would go out and enjoy and then come back to my host family and just have a normal relationship. But when I was leaving Japan to go back to my family in Auckland I felt as though I was leaving my own family and people who cared so much about me and a family with whom I had made such a close friendship with who to being with were complete strangers and then became part of me throughout this experience which was 12 days long. In these 12 days I experienced so much culture, tradition and life-styles of Japan and the people I would not be able to do so much and learn so much in 12months in New Zealand. I have learned to value the diversity around me and that we should be proud of who we are, where we come from and be able to present it as well as people in Japan did when we were there for our visit. My highest point was when we were departing when my host mother said I was like her daughter and was always welcome to their home and that I had a family away from my real family.


Low points / frustrations:

My lowest point would be, being lost for 2 hours which wasn't really a low point because I learnt more about the city and experienced how helpful Japanese people are. The worst part had to be leaving Japan.


Recommendations for improvements:

I would not change anything about this trip to Japan. I am proud to say throughout all my visits overseas nothing comes close to how moving this experience was. For this I am very thankful to SIFA (everyone in SIFA that made this trip possible and was in charge of organising it), Mr Teacher and Ms Teacher who dedicated their Wednesday lunchtimes to make sure we were prepared and made it possible. Thank you to everyone.



NANDITA
High points:

My host family was the best thing I had in Japan. Their hospitality towards me was overwhelming and made me fell as though I was with my real family. They showed me around Tokyo and my host mother would take me around to many attractions and would never complain about being tired and would carry on for my sake :) Leaving this beautiful family was the saddest thing I’ve had to do in a very long time.


Low points / frustrations:

Frustrations in Japan included the very crowded and complicated train system. This was also one of the biggest challenges in Japan. Also not being able to understand Japanese I felt like I was standing behind a glass wall when other people communicated because I just couldn’t understand anything, this made me feel a bit left out at times (but I got over it instantly, when I saw a warm and caring smile).


Recommendations for improvements:

I don’t have any recommendations for the organisation of the trip because it was done so well! Overall the whole trip was a12 out of 10!!! Thank you sooo much Ms Teacher, Mr Teacher and SIFA (Japan) I had the best time ever!!!


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