We are very fortunate here at Woodend Primary to have a long-term Sister School relationship and exchange with Myojo Elementary School in Tokyo.

Myojo students and staff have been visiting Woodend since 2008, when we began the home-stay program. We have been very well supported by our Woodend families who have hosted Myojo students for around 10 days in March each year. With Covid, we have missed having students come out to Woodend for the last 2 years.

In 2012 and every second year since, we have been able to take groups of students to Japan in September to experience school life at Myojo and a Japanese home-stay. Unfortunately, our planned trip for 2020 was cancelled but we hope to be able to soon offer that opportunity to our year 5 and year 6 students.

Despite Covid, we have been able to continue our relationship with Myojo through Zoom lessons involving our Year 5,6 and 7 students. We have enjoyed practicing our Japanese language skills with the Myojo classes as well as being able to see what their classrooms look like, and finding out little things like the fact that they don’t have to wear school uniform!

We are hopeful that the exchange can start up again in the near future, possibly as early as March 2022, though we may need to be flexible about the timing of international arrivals. In order for us to be able to do this, we need to have families willing to host a Japanese student while they are here with us.

There are many benefits for host families, including getting an insight into another culture, creating long lasting friendships, demonstrating the similarities and differences between cultures, having fun and enjoying a new experience as well as children learning the fun and simplicity of learning another language.

If you are interested in some more information about hosting a Myojo student in the future or have hosted in the past and would like to do it again, please email me and I can send out some information about the program or just add your name to the list of families who would be willing to be part of this fabulous program. If you would prefer to have a chat, let me know and I will be in touch.

Sarah Vinall (sarah.vinall740@schools.sa.edu.au)