There were plenty of smiles, learning, and memorable experiences had during the recent visit by 21 junior high school students (and two members of teaching staff) from SMP Lab School Cibubur (Bekasi City, Indonesia) to Otemon Gakuin University (Osaka, Japan), where the Faculty of International Liberal Arts came together with the 

adjoined junior and high schools, to offer a language and cultural workshop followed by school tour and student exchange activities to the visiting students.

The students arrived at Otemon Gakuin University in the morning fresh-faced and full of anticipation of the day to come!

The morning origami workshop was held in the beautifully finished tea house complete with tatami (Japanese bamboo rush flooring) and shoji (Japanese paper over wooden lattice) atop Otemon Gakuin University’s sloped path. After initial introductions, students from Otemon Gakuin University’s International Liberal Arts Faculty began teaching the visiting students how to make origami using a mix of Japanese and English, with the workshop leaders imparting simple but useful Japanese phrases as they instructed the young visitors on how to fold and shape their own origami.
The group set out to make their very own paper sumo wrestlers, and hold a sumo wrestling championship, where one student emerged victorious, and was awarded a medal for her wonderful skills!

The group then went on to try out a second variety of origami, this time making a cute heart shape. When all the students completed their pieces, the workshop leaders held a short awards ceremony. Following which the group moved to the cafeteria for a Halal friendly lunch. After everyone was replenished and refreshed, the group was given a tour of the junior and high school buildings, where they got a first-hand insight into life in a Japanese school!After returning to the cafeteria, the visiting students treated their hosts to a traditional Indonesian dance and song performance. The Otemon students then returned the gesture with a heartfelt rendition of their school anthem. And finally, the days activities were rounded off with some group discussion and games, where the students were able to use the common language of English to learn about daily life and culture in one another’s country, and make new friends.

It is an honour to organise visits such as this, and see the positive encounter that comes as a result of some earnest effort and an open mind!

(For those interested in engaging in similar activities or school interaction like this, please contact us via our contact page.)