Greetings from my Exchange Year in Japan
With International borders now reopened, Year 10 student Sorina Turcas was able to commence her exchange year in Japan. We can all remember a time when the excitement and rich cultural immersion of QAHS Study Tours to China, France and Noumea were possible. Whilst school-organised Study Tours to other countries are not yet able to be planned, families are able to consider immersion and exchange opportunities in their own private capacity.
Sorina gives us a window into school life in Japan during the first few months of her year long exchange. Read her reflection:
I arrived safely in Japan on Tuesday 5 April and I attended school just to introduce myself the next day. The school I am currently attending is a private, all-girls school in Yokohama called Hakuhou Joshi Koutougakkou. Since I did not own any uniform at that time, I had worn my QA uniform. I have attached a photo of me standing in front of the school gates. School runs from 8:30 - 3:30 on weekdays and 8:30 - 12:30 on Saturdays with Sunday being the only day off school. As my host family lives 1.5 hours away, I have to wake up at 5:45am everyday to make it in time for my train. I have to change trains twice and also ride a bus to get to school, so it was very hard to get used to as I never have used public transport on my own before.
Golden Week is a big national holiday in Japan that roughly lasts for about a week during the beginning of May. My host family took me to a place call Nikkou and it was very relaxing just to spend a few days walking in nature.
Between then and now I have joined the school dance club. In Japan, after school club activities are a very big thing and there are various clubs you can join such as the tea ceremony club, soft ball club and Japanese archery club etc. Because competition season is approaching, I have practice six days a week with Monday being the only day off. Week days usually only last for a little over 2 hours after school but weekend practices run from 4.5 hours on Saturday to 7.5 hours on Sunday. At first it was very hard to balance both school and dance as my host family lives far away and I would get back home past 8pm. However, I found ways to use my time more effectively and also use my commute time on the train and bus to study for my exams. I did start to slightly feel burnt out towards the end as I would stay up until past 12am to study but it was worth it as I achieved above average scores for all my subjects, even in Japanese Literature and History! In fact, I earned 87% on my History exam which was extremely surprising as I was struggling a lot in that subject due to difficult vocabulary.
We will look forward to periodic updates from Sorina as she progresses through her exchange year. We wish her all our QAHS best as she adapts to her new life.