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A letter from Busselton Senior High School Year 9 student,

Grace Wedderburn.

I've always thought that when life gives you lemons you should make lemonade, but in my case, life had just given me some very sweet lemonade.  So I took the whole glass.Ss_2013_aust002.jpg

 When my school teacher asked who would be interested in the Sugito Exchange Program, I knew right then exactly what I wanted - the chance of a lifetime.  We had our first meeting and it was terrifying.  I was never really the most confident or outgoing personality and I was so set on getting a position that it was so scary thinking about how it would feel to not get selected.  To get selected I had to attend an interview with my Mum, myself and Mary-Lee Kemp and Ray Toia (the Sugito Exchange organisers)  At the interview we got asked what seems like thousands of questions and answering each of them was absolutely nerve wracking.  After the interview we waited a long anxious week before receiving an email confirming me of my position in the Sugito Exchange Program.  I can't describe the feeling in words, but if I could try, I would bring it down to absolutely heart stopping.

 Anna and Michie's (Sugito Exchange Students) photo's got sent to me and the heart race started all over again and with what seemed like no time at all I met them at Cape Naturaliste College. All the exchange students were exhausted after a full 24 hours travelling, but i can hardly say the same, I was just an excited mess. Communication between myself, Anna (12) and Michie (12) was limited as they didn't speak much english, But google translate saved us there.

 We attended just three days of school. The other two weekdays we spent touring the south west, we also had the weekend. We travelled to all the tourist attractions, like the jetty, country life farm, candy cow not to mention the chocolate factory and heaps of other places. on the school days everyone was so excited to get to know Anna and Michie, it was really wonderful. Saying goodbye... not so much. I felt like everything had been a dream, and I was about to wake up, I begged myself back to sleep but iIhung onto the consolation that I got to see them again so soon.

 The plane trip was absolutely amazing, I couldnt wait to see them. In just one week we had become so close they were like apart of me. We arrived at Narita airport tired and exhausted, After an hour drive, we met our exchange sutdents and families at the Sugito Town Office.  Seeing as I had two exchange students, it meant I was staying in two different houses. I first spent five days staying with Michie, her parents and Grandma. It was a relief to discover that Michies mother spoke good english, breaking the communication barrier. We spent three days attending Japanese school, of which I went to Hiroshima Junior High School. I was amazed at the extreme amounts of work ethic and pure intelligence of all the kids, although I didn't understand a word!  

 The days were hot and tiring, and seemed to get longer and longer, most days starting with early mornings, and finishing with late nights leaving everyone exhausted, but still so excited of what was to come. During our stay in Japan, We also visited two primary schools, which proved to be more fun than expected. We were thoroughly welcomed with open arms to anywhere and everywhere we went. Just like when we hosted the Japanese exchange students in Busselton, we also had two days of excursions, which included visiting Odaiba (Aqua city) a large artifical island, with huge shopping malls, Asakusa (Japanese shrine), a Tokyo day trip and last but not least Disneyland! Tokyo Disneyland exceeded all my expectations and was without a doubt one of the main highlights of the trip.

 All to soon my 10 day visit to Sugito came to an end. Although my travels with Sugito Exchange are over, I plan to travel with my family to Japan next year. This exchange has been such a tremendous experience, and was hard to but into words describing just how amazing it really was. I have learnt so much and made lifelong friends. I know I am so lucky to have had this experience and so lucky to have my Mum support me through it. I know I will never forget this experience. It was not one bit less than perfect.

 

Grace Wedderburn

Year 9

Busselton Senior High School

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