Seven SMS students recently returned from a student exchange program with Eiwa School in Shizouka, Japan. Below, some of the students reflect on their their experience living and going to school in another country.
The Japan exchange trip has been an all around great experience. I find that it is amazing that you can travel halfway around the world to a totally new country with a very different culture and be completely welcomed into it. Here in Japan I have made so many long lasting friendships and met even more people that I will never forget. It is reassuring in a lot of ways to know that people who are strangers so far away will take you into their homes and make you feel like you belong. In return, all they want is to know more about you and your culture. From now on I will call Shizuoka, Japan my second home. I know that if I ever should need a place to stay, I could come back here and there would be a bed and food waiting for me. The one thing that I was afraid of when I came to Japan was not fitting in. I was so surprised (and relieved) to discover that everyone here makes you feel like you’re a member of their family or a long lost friend. This is the part of the trip that I will always remember - not the shopping or the food, but the people who made this trip so special.
These two weeks have gone by so fast because I learned that you stop missing what you don't have and start looking at what’s right in front of you when you just live in the moment and go with the flow. They say living in the moment may be the key to life, so I tried it while I was here in Japan and had the best experience ever. Even though my closest friends were on the other side of the world, I made two new ones. I definitely want to come back to Japan and visit my homestay family and all my new Japanese friends. I love you, Japan and I’m going to miss you so much!
It is strange to think that our time in Japan is almost over and that soon we will be on a flight back to Canada. I have had such a great time here and wish we could have stayed longer. For me, the most amazing thing was how I was able to communicate with people who speak little to no English. Even though it was hard at first, I ended up building a strong bond with my host family because we could overcome the language barrier. Though I am sad to be leaving Japan, I do miss Canada and can`t wait to see everyone. To whoever comes to Japan next year: I hope you have a great time and make lots of new friends and experience new things. Most of all, enjoy yourself and make the best of every moment!
I'm so glad that I applied to join the Japan trip because it is the best trip I have ever taken in my life! To get to live with a family that you have never met before is such an amazing thing. I would like to thank Eiwa School and my host family. They made me feel like I was one of them. I also made many new friends in Japan. They are so kind. They gave me so many presents to take back to Canada that I am afraid that my suitcase is going to explode! I have many reasons to say that I love Japan! I will always cherish the memories I made here with my Japanese friends and host family. I hope I can come back some day.