The moment I stepped onto the plane, behind me was a group of students from a regional high school. I know the one, because I applied for a job there a number of years ago. I didn't take it up, because I was offered another job at exactly the same time. One was going to be classroom based, the other outdoors. Needless to say, I took the outdoor one.
Other than that random pointless segway about jobs, seeing a school group boarding the plane got me thinking about overseas travel with school groups. I’ll talk risks at another time as this is a whole topic on its own. Instead, as the headline says, I'm going to talk about Japan. It's the second time I've been and it's an amazingly different country from our own. Despite the fact that lots of people in Australia eat sushi rolls, this is a far cry from the reality of the wonderful world of Japan.
Breathtaking View Of The Mountain In Niseko
I hate to admit that I studied Japanese at school and now the only two things I can say are thank you and thank you very much. It's a challenging language, but once you're immersed in its culture, things start to gel together. The only exposure I'd had to Japanese culture when I was at school was when we had an exchange teacher come and stay. I remember the warm welcome I gave him, saying hello my name is David in Japanese and then asking him if he liked eating whale. Hopefully, the group I saw on the plane were slightly more sensitive than that when they met their hosts. Although they’d probably ask if we eat kangaroo and crocodile, which for me would be a yes to both!
Amazing Castle In Matsumoto. It's Over 400 Years Old!
Japan itself is an astounding, at times contradictory, contrast of cultures. From the modern, glittering, fast pace of Tokyo to the small rural villages where subsistence farming remains a major part of society, this is a wonderful country. From an educational point of view Japan is a great choice of destination, especially for Western students. Steeped in centuries of history way beyond our own, the dramatic difference in culture and outlook in life makes this a valuable experience for any school group.
The way in which the Japanese live is so different and the amount of bowing is phenomenal. Their temples, their castles, their language, their TV!!! Their food and way of life is just fascinating and will be a real change of pace for any Western school group heading over.
Scrumptious Japanese Food
If you're thinking of an overseas opportunity for your school, Japan is a 9 hour flight from Australia and only 1-2 hour time difference, so your group can hit the ground running as soon as they arrive. I won't go into a list of attractions and things to do in Japan. You can discover those and map them to your own curriculum yourself, as there are so many options from which to choose. The main underlying reason for heading to Japan for a school however, is the dramatic cultural differences.
There are so many overseas trips going out now, but some of them you have to wonder the value. Are you truly experiencing a different outlook on the world with them or is it just tourism? A trip to Japan however, is mind blowing. The dramatic cultural shift can't simply be described. You must experience it for yourself! Admittedly, I'm glad I wasn't there with a group of students, but the educational value of a visit would be immense.