BMHS Pridetime Reporter
On February 3rd, 2018, eighteen motivated Center for Global Studies (CGS) students left school for two weeks to go to Hiroshima, Japan.
They practiced their Japanese speaking skills and learned more about Japanese culture by staying with a Japanese host family and touring Hiroshima and the surrounding areas.
Although the students toured places like Peace Park, the memorial for the first ever Atomic Bomb used in history, most of the students would admit that their most memorable experiences were those who stayed with their host families.
The CGS travelers stayed with students of Nagisa High School in Hiroshima, Japan for a little over a week, going along with their everyday routine as well as going on day trips with their host brothers and sisters.
Unfortunately, the students’ Japanese excursion ended on Friday when they returned home from their long twelve-hour flight.
PrideTime: “What was your first impression of Nagisa High School?”
Tes Dejaeger (‘18): “It's very clean, modern and beautiful. All of the students look very professional in their uniforms and the school is just so clean.”
Katelan Heslop (‘18): “Nagisa was a very big, modernized school with Japanese elements incorporated-- it felt more American than Japanese.”
Jude Icoy (‘18): “It was so huge! I thought it was some elite high school for really serious students (I was told it was a private school). The kids were really smart, as expected, but not overly serious. The student body and the school itself was very impressive (although they could use some central heating lol).”
PrideTime: “How do you think Nagisa students are different from McMahon students?”
Dejaeger: “Nagisa students act a different way in school. They are extremely respectful to their teachers but oddly, sleeping is acceptable in school.”
Heslop: “I think the students at Nagisa High School have a larger respect for authority than students at McMahon, but I think we both have similar senses of playfulness (like we know how to have fun)”
Francesca Yalong (‘18): “They’re probably a lot more studious and mature, but to be honest, they were still lots of fun and got (very) excited about seeing foreigners. They also seem to take school way more seriously, but the English teacher begs to differ.”
PrideTime: “How did you get to school in the morning? What time did you leave the house?”
Dejaeger: “Normally we took a train and it took about an hour but my family was really nice and drove me every day. They would drive us off in front of the train station and we'd walk to school. I loved the walk because I felt like I was a part of a system: seeing everyone commuting.”
Icoy: “I walked to the train station, road to Itsukaichi station, then walked to school from there.”
Yalong: “I got to school by streetcar which is like a trolley but better, and we left the house around 7:30 every morning for school.”
PrideTime: “On a school day, what was lunch like?”
Dejaeger: “I actually enjoyed hot lunch more than bentos (packed lunches), which is the opposite of how I feel in America. Their hot lunch is fresh and actually hot.”
Kendric Void (‘18): “A bento box. It was very healthy and included multiple kinds of food (vegetable, fruit, grain, and meat).”
Yalong: “I either had awesome supper cute bento or AMAZING cafeteria food. Like restaurant quality curry.”
PrideTime: “What were the teachers at Nagisa like?”
Dejaeger: “I didn't experience many student-teacher classes but my hosts' homeroom teacher was very friendly and seemed to be a mentor to her class. Hanabi Sensei (the English teacher) was very nice but very sarcastic. At times I wondered if all Japanese teachers were sarcastic.”
Heslop: “The teachers were all very friendly and greeted me in the hallways even though I'm sure they had no idea who I was-- even in classes they were very accommodating to my being there, regardless of how it affected their schedule.”
Void: “Teachers in Nagisa were similar to teachers at McMahon. Some were relatively laid back while others were strict, but all appeared dedicated to their job.”
PrideTime: “What was your experience like living with a Japanese family? How did their routine differ from your own family’s?”
Dejaeger: “The homestay was amazing. The biggest difference as definitely the living quarters. My host daily lives in an apartment with 5 people. Also, I think everyone in Japan accepts their job/profession and is proud of it. In America, you are almost out into an invisible hierarchy.”
Heslop: “It was fun -- they were like a home away from home because they treated me like a member of the family, not a foreigner. Usually, at my house, we don't have breakfast lunch or dinner together, but all meals at the house were with the families-- there was like a specific time to eat, watch television, and then bathe and go to bed, which I don't really have in my own home.”
Yalong: “My host family was awesome! They were always super considerate and thoughtful. Meals were really delicious and beautifully presented, the baths were crazy great, and they’re so freaking generous! The routine was a little different from mine because they all took night showers and used the bathtub a lot. It also took a lot longer to get dressed in the morning because their uniforms have so many layers. But they also woke up a lot later so I actually got sleep. Crazy, right? There was a huge language barrier, but they made the utmost effort to speak English and I really appreciated it.”
PrideTime: “What was the biggest difference you noticed between Japanese and American high schools?”
Dejaeger: “Japanese students have to wear uniforms and clean their classrooms at the end of each week. American students can freely express themselves and move from classroom to classroom instead of teachers moving classroom to classroom.”
Heslop: “The classes are bigger, there are fewer break times, fewer students in the hallways during class time, and you can't use the bathroom during class!!!”
Void: “Teachers switch classes, there’s school on Saturday, and most students did not go to the cafeteria.”
Yalong: “Japanese high schools are immaculate. They’re so clean and beautiful and they have VENDING MACHINES. They’re also hella freezing because they don’t heat hallways in Japan.”
PrideTime: “Is there anything else you would like to add about your experience at a Japanese school?”
Heslop: “I feel like it's a more collective effort to welcome visitors when they come than there is in Brien McMahon -- of course this is because technically only CGS is hosting and not BMHS but still, it felt more friendly over there.”
Void: “Something I found interesting was when I learned from my host that all students are required to take a longer route to school so they don't disturb nearby houses. I couldn't see this happening in America.”
Dejaeger: “I wish I was there right now. Best. Experience. Ever.”