Monday, 22 July 2013

Rotary Sponsored Trip to Sister City

The Wanganui Rotary Club recently sent five students from different Secondary Schools to spend 11 days in Nagaizumi, our sister city in Japan.

They were chaperoned by Rotarian Lei Graham.  Rotarian Dot McKinnon and Lei selected students recommended by the local schools.

The students selected had limited opportunities to travel outside of New Zealand.

Our itinerary was a collaborative effort between the Nagaizumi Rotary Club in conjunction with the town hall and Education Superintendent.

We spent a day at different schools who invited us to either address the whole school or do a presentation to different classes. We spoke about N.Z. and taught some students how to do a Maori greeting, waiata and games. In return we observed them in a classroom situation, participated in activities they had organised and enjoyed the school lunches provided.

It was great to see how conscientious they were in terms of conservation and using recycling methods to reduce rubbish.

We were treated like celebrities. An aspect that will remain in our memories is the fact that they couldn’t do enough for us. Our host families were extremely generous and some took us to places that they had never visited before e.g. going to Tokyo, visiting the Sky Tree, and Venetian Glass complex.

Students were invited to visit again and the invitation for reciprocation was extended to the host families.

Everyone who had input into the program evaluated the experience. The feedback will be invaluable for exchanges in the future. This visit has strengthened the ties between the two cities.

The students can’t say enough about how life changing the experience was and all stated “The memory will last a life time.”

Any Rotary Club wanting to arrange a student exchange program should contact the Rotary Club in Nagaizumi.