Japanese students here to learn about Sabah culture, life

KOTA KINABALU: Five Japanese high school students are here in the Land Below the Wind to learn more about our culture and way of life under the Global Generation Programme (GGP), a student exchange programme between Arima Senior High School, Sanda City, Japan and its sister school, SM All Saints.

This is the third GGP between both schools, involving two girls and three boys, as well as two teachers from Arima Senior High School, who will stay in Sabah from July 29 to August 5.

The Japanese students are Kohei Wada, 15, Moe Seriu, 16, Nene Arima, 15, Takumi Shigi, 15 and Taku Miyaji, 15.

They are provided home stay with their foster families of five selected students from All Saints – John S. Tunggolou, 15, Sarah Chong Shuk Ying, 15, Shana Teo Ching Yii, 16, Theepan Sellamuthu, 15, and Nazri Zainal, 16.

In turn, these five students and a teacher from SM All Saints will leave for Japan in November.

At the welcoming assembly at the school yesterday, the chairman of All Saints School board of management, Joseph Wong, said the GGP, which first began in 2005 and officially endorsed in 2007, had become part of the tradition in fostering international linkage to enhance and create opportunities for its students and teachers to explore diversified fields, in line with the challenges of globalization.

The first GGP took place in 2007 whereby five students and two teachers from Arima Senior High School stayed in Sabah for a week from July 31, and five girls from All Saints went to Japan in November of the same year. The programme was postponed in 2009 due to the outbreak of H1N1 and resumed in 2011.

The SM All Saints Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) and the board of management have provided some financial sponsorship for the programme.

“I personally feel that it is a good programme and the board endeavors to continue the programme in years to come,” he said.

PTA president Lifred Wong said the Japanese students not only lived with their foster families, but they would also be brought around to learn more about the culture and heritage of the State.

As part of the programme, the Japanese students will learn Malay, English, cooking, and arts and craft at the school, participate in a study programme at UMS, and visit Kinabalu National Park, Lok Kawi Wildlife Park and Mari-Mari Cultural Village.

Meanwhile, Minoru Ueno, an English teacher at Arima Senior High School, said the students were interested in learning the differences between Japanese and Malaysian life and culture, as well as to make Malaysian friends.

In terms of the school’s education system, Minoru said Arima Senior High School was different from the average high schools in Japan in the sense that students could choose to study their interests in their second and third year of senior high.

“Many high schools in Japan mainly target to get students into good universities, so they cram information into their heads.

“Our students enjoy school life much more than other schools,” he said, adding that it was because students were given the liberty to think about what they wanted to do in the universities, and pursue their interest starting from senior high, such as agriculture, nursing or language classes.

Also present at the press conference were SM All Saints principal Tiong Ai Ping and Arima Senior High School principal Manabe Yoshitsugu.

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