On Monday 12th March we welcomed the Ichikawa High School Group in true McGlashan style. The group of 22 students (10 boys and 12 girls) arrived on a sunny Dunedin day and were greeted with an awesome Haka perfomance from the Hostel Boarders and our school piper - Qwenton McKenzie.
A short welcome was held in our Chapel for our weary travellers, and they were then introduced to their homestay families that they would be spending the next two weeks with.
Stacey Hemi was the ESOL teacher based at John McGlashan College (JMC). She worked with the boys every morning in the Edgar Learning Centre (ELC) to improve their English and was very impressed with their progress. The boys presented in English to a group of 60 plus students and teachers on their last day. It was amazing to see their confidence and cheerfulness.
The student's afternoons were filled with activities including tours of the Otago Peninsula with Nature's Wonders Wildlife, Dunedin city, Otago University as well as attending classes at JMC with their Kiwi buddies. They were extremely lucky to be able to partake in a 'performance workshop' with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, kindly organised by Kimberley Fridd.
An elective day halfway through their visit was a highlight for many of the students. With the opportunity to learn about Maori culture with Mr Nick Price, a contemporary music session including kiwi songs (Slice of Heaven) with Mr Bruce James. Mr Andrew Innes offered a Science option investigating the habitat at a local stream, and also a Social Science group visited Toitu Otago Settlers Museum and worked with an educator on site.
A farewell was held in the JMC chapel on Friday 23rd March where the Ichikawa students received their well earned ESOL certificates and exchanged school badges with their buddies. This was an entertaining night with songs, dances and hilarious skits.
The group departed on Saturday morning taking with them new friendships and fond memories of their short but eventful stay in Dunedin.
A big THANK YOU to all of our wonderful homestay families that opened their homes to these students and made this experience possible!