American high school students visit Ie-jima for cultural exchange with local pupils

American high school students visit Ie-jima for cultural exchange with local pupils

On April 16 at Ie Island Seishonen Ryoko-mura Campsite the English immersion camp participants gathered around their commemoratively planted palm tree for a photograph.

April 30, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

By Hiroe Nakagawa

High school students from Forest Lake Christian School in California and program leaders, 12 people altogether, stayed on Ie-jima the week of April 11 through April 17. These students volunteered in providing English lessons for elementary school pupils and an outdoor camp for junior high pupils in Ie Village.

The volunteer work is affiliated with an Ie Village project for global human resource development. Ralph Justiniano of Encompass Japan (based in Tokyo), as well as foreign instructors and students of Okinawa Christian School International in Yomitan Village collaborated on the program, jointly sponsored by the Ie Village Board of Education and Kumon Ie’s Ie West School.

This program, called Camp California in Ie-jima, is in its second consecutive year. On April 13 and 14, the volunteers visited two elementary schools in Ie Village, socializing with local students through games and other activities. They showed the local students videos of elementary school lessons in America, addressing the differences in school life between America and Japan.

On April 14 through 17, the program conducted an English immersion camp for junior high pupils at Ie Island Seishonen Ryoko-mura Campsite. At the camp participants communicated in English and enjoyed American-style meals, campfires, songs, and games. On April 16, the campers celebrated Easter and were introduced to the tradition of Easter eggs. Local participants said that they have acquired English listening skill through the immersion, and they are able to speak English more naturally. It was an enriching cultural exchange.

Ie Village junior high third-year pupils Emika Tamashiro and Shigeru Gushikawa said that since their participation last year, they have gotten better at English listening comprehension. Because they still cannot express themselves well in English, they would like to study more and have a homestay experience in America.

(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)

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