In a long standing reciprocal partnership spanning nearly two decades, Somerville House has once again played host to fifteen exchange students from Chiba Girls’ High School in Chiba, Japan. For nine days, the students, accompanied by their teacher, Ms Chikako Morita and Deputy Principal, Mr Fumio Takagi, were billeted by generous Somerville House community members. Japanese teacher, Mrs Stacey-Jane Feely said that the visiting students followed an exciting program, which included attending one regular class with their host sister. 

“The students had the opportunity to explore our campus, taking part in lessons with their host sisters, ESL classes with Learning Enhancement teacher, Mrs Laraine Kelly and made presentations to our Japanese classes,” Mrs Feely said. 

“In their downtime, the students and teachers from Chiba also explored the many sights of Brisbane, visiting the South Bank Cultural Centre, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the University of Queensland and the Gold Coast, just to name a few,” she said. 

Head of Department - Languages at Somerville House, Mr Clayton Forno says a program like this has many benefits for not only the visiting school, but for Somerville House language students. 

“Making a lifelong friend, learning intercultural communication skills and gaining different perspectives of their world is only a sample of the benefits a program like this gives our students,” Mr Forno said. 

“Through the reciprocal exchange, students have the chance to broaden their worldly knowledge and learn about another country and its language from someone their age with similar interests and hobbies,” he said. 

Since 2018, Japanese language students in Year 10 have been encouraged to apply for a two week exchange to Chiba Girls’ High School.

“Last year we had three Year 10 students travel to Chiba where they stayed with host families, attended school, and visited places of interest,” Mr Forno said. 

“This year we have one Year 10 Japanese language student participating in the exchange over the September break,” he said. 

“This exchange is a wonderful opportunity for our students and we look forward to welcoming another group of students again next year.”