Chris Scott, Upper School Japanese teacher, and Hillary Freeman, ninth grade dean, took nine young ambassadors (Grades 9–12) to Japan for eleven days in February on an exchange program with Doshisha high schools.
Begun in 2016, this program brings Nueva students to Japan and Doshisha students to Nueva to experience each other’s schools, languages, and cultures, with the aim of cultivating mutual understanding and global citizenship. Doshisha students will visit Nueva in late March.
In Japan, the Nueva students attended classes and enjoyed homestays with students at three different high schools: Doshisha International Senior High School, Doshisha Kori Senior High School, and Doshisha Senior High School. At school, they participated in various cultural activities, such as calligraphy, dancing, tea ceremony, cooking classes, and field trips to local temples. Outside of school, they studied various social issues, such as minorities and day laborers in Osaka, and gained hands-on experience with traditional Japanese arts, such as woodworking, dyeing, and confection making.
The trip culminated with a visit to Tokyo, the political, economic, and cultural center of the country, where students explored both sides of the city: the “downtown” districts reminiscent of old Edo (the former name of Tokyo) and the “uptown” neighborhoods of newer Tokyo. This year featured two new highlights: a relaxing evening at the O-Edo Onsen Monogatari, an Edo-themed hot-spring resort, and a surprise visit to the Ghibli Museum, dedicated to the animated works of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. Like Miyazaki’s films, the trip was a fantastic journey through Japanese history and culture, from the quiet elegance of Kyoto and the diverse cityscape of Osaka to the “floating world” of Edo and the neon wonderland of Tokyo.
During the trip, Chris and Hillary communicated with the students’ families back home using an app called Remind. From their smartphones, the teachers were able to send annotated photos home as the events of the day unfolded. Here is a sampling of their communication organized by their time spent at school, learning by doing in the field, and exploring significant cultural sites around Japan.
Home Away From Home at Doshisha
Learning By Doing
Sights and Sounds of Japan
March 24, 2017