Japanese ExchangeKeio Yochisha Exchange

The Dragon has been running a successful exchange programme with Keio Yochisha, a prestigious independent elementary school in Tokyo, for over ten years now.

As well as increasing cultural understanding and promoting friendship between the pupils, teachers and parents of our two schools, we hope that our exchange programme will help, in a small way, the UK and Japan to grow closer together.

The exchange is in two parts. In April, usually the first full week of the summer term, we welcome twelve pupils and accompanying staff from Keio Yochisha. The pupils usually "homestay" with B & C block Dragons.

During their week in the UK, Keio pupils will spend a proportion of time in lessons and participating in games and activities. They will also have the opportunity to go sightseeing in London, Portsmouth and Oxford. Typically they spend one "free" day with their host families.

The second part of the exchange takes place the following October when, usually in the first week of the Winter half-term, twelve A & B block pupils and accompanying staff visit Tokyo. For their week's stay, our children usually "homestay" with the pupils they hosted in April.

While in Japan, Dragons get a first hand experience of what it is like to live in one of the world's most exciting and densely populated cities. Every day they can expect to travel to school independently by public transport.

At Keio, our pupils will participate in all lessons. They usually get the chance to take part in activities like judo and, weather permitting, the school Sports Day. Each night, Dragons go home to their host families where some English is usually spoken.

Not only will Dragons have the opportunity to see Tokyo's tower and temples, they will also travel by "shinkansen" or "bullet" train to Mt. Fuji, Japan's most famous mountain, where they will learn about the tea ceremony at a temple and visit Owakundai's famous hot springs.

During their overnight stay in Hakone, our pupils and their hosts will stay at a "ryokan" or traditional inn. There they will have the opportunity to eat a range of Japanese food with "o-hashi" or chopsticks. A daring few might even take the plunge and take an "onsen" or hot spring bath!

At first glance, Japan and the UK are very different but this unique and exciting exchange provides the opportunity for pupils of both schools to see that, beyond the obvious differences, there is much that unites our two ancient, island nations with distinctive cultures.

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