By Amber Fraser-Smith and Duncan Trickey | Posted: Monday August 11, 2014
The first week of term was a busy one with a group of 19 Wakamatsu students from Japan visiting the school. A group of students from Wakamatsu visit each year, but this was one of the larger groups we've had recently.
The Japanese students joined the 11 new international students for a mihi whakatau led by Mr Winiata and his Year 9 Maori students.
The students were paired up with Logan Park students and spent two afternoons in classes with their buddies. On the Friday they had a party and award ceremony before leaving New Zealand on the Saturday. The experience was enjoyed by Wakamatsu students and their Logan Park buddies.
Along with a number of new international students, 19 students, from Logan Park's sister school Wakamatsu in Chiba about 40 kilometres from Tokyo, were welcomed into Logan Park.
The students spent mornings at the Language centre and also touring around Dunedin. Two afternoons were spent in classes with their Logan Park buddies with a leaving do on the Friday. The students' buddies who were from Years 9-12, clearly valued the cultural exchange and in just a short time many friendships blossomed. The impact of the work done by our buddies was clear to all and it was a teary farewell for many of our visitors. The visiting students were welcomed into classrooms and experienced a real range of subjects: Art, Drama, Maths, the Sciences, Social Studies, Graphic Design, French, Digital Technology, Physical Education, Accounting, Fabrics, Food Technology, English and Music.
"I always wanted to meet new International students from different countries, and one day, that chance came to me when Mr Trickey, asked for volunteers to be buddies for the Wakamatasu High School students from Chiba, Japan. I was so excited that before we met, I practised basic Japanese ways of saying 'Hi', 'Good morning', 'Thank you' and one of my favourites, 'Let's eat!' I learned these words with my mother, who used to live in Tokyo in her youth for about 3 months.
On Tuesday, I came to the whanau room where both the Japanese students and us were excited yet shy and nervous. It was more than I imagined. My chosen buddy was 'Takedo', He was a great guy who was sweet, respectful and a great friend. It was a sad moment when we had our last lunch together. Even though it was just 3 school days we were together, it was one of the best moments of my life in Logan Park. Not just because I learned about the people, but also the beauty of their culture, how they speak, how they greet, and especially their friendship!"
— Jesse Bawi Year 11