Student Exchange Memories: Patricia Sumargo

Patricia Sumargo (pictured centre bottom in Elwood College tie) reports on her 2015 exchange.

The Japanese student exchange has truly been an amazing experience in my life. I experienced many new things and made friendships that I will never forget. My host sister’s name was Yukino and I stayed with her family for six weeks. It was an incredible experience. They were very welcoming and did not hesitate to teach me Japanese. The first couple of days were quite confusing as I could only speak basic Japanese. As time went along, I felt that I bonded with them and that I was a part of the family. Every day after I came home from school, I would have dinner with them and they would ask me what I did during the day. They then would ask if I didn’t understand anything and tried to help me with my homework. Because of them, my Japanese has improved a lot.

Attending school in Japan was a very interesting experience. I would wake up early and spend 30 minutes cycling to school. Around 99% of students at Obu Higashi Senior School use bikes as their transportation to school! In the morning, I would pass my friends and they would say “Ohayou”! (Good morning) to me.

The students and teachers at Obu Higashi were very welcoming and kind. I really enjoyed talking to them with my broken Japanese and they would spend some time trying to figuring out what I was trying to say. When they did, I would often high five them and we would do a little dance together.

When school finished, everyone will go to their clubs activities and practice for two hours or so. Around this time my friends and I would go to the clubs and watch. Sometimes they would even let us join in! These club activities were very memorable to me.

Overall, the exchange trip to Japan was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life. I really enjoyed living with my host family, meeting new people and becoming friends with them. They are extremely kind. I will never forget how welcoming they were. The memories that I made, I hope to treasure forever. My Japanese has improved a lot thanks to everyone who helped me there. I can’t wait to visit Japan again in the future! Thank you Obu Higashi!