As same as every year, International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) students in Year 13 studying the Ab initio Japanese course have been enjoying exchanging letters with the students at Kitakyushu National College of Technology in Fukuoka in Japan.
The students write letters in both Japanese and English, so that our Ab initio students can practice writing and reading Japanese and the Japanese students can practice communicating in English.
Harley, one of our students, said “I think that writing to a Japanese penpal is interesting and fun! I learnt extra vocabulary and got to practice my writing and reading skills as well as have lots of fun making a new friend.”
Yasmin also said “I enjoyed writing pen pal letters because it gave me a way to become familiar with everyday language and learn about the culture from a personal view. It was fun making friends, too!”
Marli added “It was really fun to practise Japanese writing and reading whilst making a friend at the same time! It was an interesting way to learn about Japanese culture and share my own culture with my penpal too! It was also a great way to stay motivated to practise Japanese in the difficult time of COVID-19.”
Mr Shinichi Watanabe, the Japanese teacher in the Kitakyusyu National College of Technology mentioned "It is not an easy task for Japanese students to learn English. Sometimes they get tired of learning, but it is very encouraging for them to read the letters from the students who are learning Japanese at Dane Court Grammar School. It has been six years since the exchange started, and we hope that the exchange will continue for a long time to come".
Yuma Iwamoto, one of the Japanese pen pals mentioned "This correspondence activity has been a very important and interesting experience for me. I was very happy when my penpal asked me the meaning of my name. I would not have been able to communicate so much with foreigners without this activity. I would like to exchange letters more."
We have found it greatly beneficial to our studies because it gives us sufficient practice in reading and writing Japanese outside the classroom. It is also nice to keep contact with each other over the countries under the current difficult times due to Covid.