This year, 9 students were lucky enough to experience the exchange, along with the two leaders Kathy Jackson and Scott Robinson. In August the Japanese students came to Busselton to experience a very hectic 10 days of school, home life and tourist activities. During the following school holidays the excited Busselton students travelled to Sugito to experience a hectic 10 days of Japanese home life, school, and tourist activities - of which a visit to Tokyo and a day spent at Tokyo Disneyland were a definite highlite.
The exchange program happens in 2 'parts.' The first part being till after the Sugito students have visited when the whole family is very involved and then the preparation for, and travel to Sugito, when it is the exchange student and the leaders who are more closely involved. Each year it is stressed to the students that the leaders are their 'parents' while in Japan and, so before travelling, there are 3 leader/ student meetings where group cohesion and reliance is developed.
When asked after the exchange 'what is the most important thing you have learn about yourself?' the students answers included -
'I learnt that I am confident, self reliant and capable'
'how much I enjoy experiencing other cultures'
'Even when I couldn't speak the language I could still laugh and have a good time'
'I am braver and more courageous than I thought I was'
'I enjoy seeing different cultures and I can be independent'
'That I am willing to give things a go, even things I thought I would never do, like eating eel and liver'
'That I can come out of my shell from time to time or completely and I can make friends more easily'