Cultural exchange for Waikato Japanese language students

26 May 2014

University of Waikato Japanese language studentsLearning the language: Five Waikato Japanese language students are on their way to Japan for a fully funded cultural exchange.
Five University of Waikato students have been granted the opportunity to take part in a cultural exchange, travelling to Japan for one week.

The exchange is funded by the Japanese Government and the project is called JENSYS 2.0 (Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youth).

“JENESYS 2.0 is a programme developed to increase potential interests towards Japan and a number of foreign visitors, for Japan's economic recovery and to deepen mutual understanding among the youth of Japan and ASEAN/Oceanian region,” says Convenor of the Japanese programme Fumiko Nishimura.

Understanding Japanese culture 

Japanese Language students Luke Gibbison, Jazmen Aotea Apiti, Jessica Hunt, Kate Cooke and Hannah Dewhurst will join 362 participants, divided into 18 multinational groups to visit one local prefecture before attending the Tokyo programme.

As part of their stay in Tokyo, the students will deepen mutual friendship and understanding of different culture through home-stays, site-visits and school exchange.

They are not only expected to learn about Japanese culture, but to share their own cultures. Aotea is looking forward to performing a traditional Māori dance for the group.

An opportunity to learn

Fumiko says that this exchange is a hugely beneficial opportunity for the group, and will add depth to their resumes for the future and test their Japanese language as well as overall cultural understanding.

Jess says that she has wanted to visit Japan ever since she could remember. “I’ve always thought that the best way to learn about a culture is to experience it.

We used to have Japanese exchange students and for me there has always been something special about the Japanese culture, they have a lot of respect as a people, they have amazing festivals and the food is wonderful.”

The students flew out on Sunday 25 May and return on June 4. They will be holding a presentation for the interested public between 1 and 2 pm on Wednesday 23 July, in S1.03 to talk about their experiences and learnings.

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