At the request of Kumano Town the Hiroshima University International Center organized intercultural events for the children of Kumano Town and students from HU called: “Let’s exchange with the children of Kumano Town! Parts1 ~ 2 ”.
The first event, “Let’s exchange with the children of Kumano Town! Part 1 ”, was held on August 4 (Sat) at 10:00 a.m. 10 international students, 7 Japanese students and 2 trainees from the Hiroshima International Center gathered at the parking area of Hiroshima University and took a bus to the Kumano-chomin Playground. At the gymnastic hall of the Kumano-chomin Playground, 149 elementary students were waiting. After self-introductions, everybody got to know one another better and interact through playing sports, eating nagashi somen together, and playing a calligraphy-relay game. Afterward they visited “Fudenosato kobo”, where they saw the biggest fude (ink brush) in the world and were taught by craftsmen how to make an ink brush. The students were able to learn a lot about fude-production in Kumano Town.
When the international students took the bus at the Kumano-chomin Playground to leave town, the children of Kumano showed their affection for their guests by running after the bus to say goodbye. The international students were deeply moved by the scene. The international students from Hiroshima University said: “It was our first time to hear about and eat the typical Japanese dish called nagashi somen . It was fun and delicious!” and “The children of Kumano Town are extremely cute.” They really enjoyed interacting with all the students that day. Additionally, Japanese students said: “We had a lot of fun. We hope that we’ll have the chance to see the children again” and “we made friends not only with the children, but also with the international students.” They were happy to get to know not only the children but also international students.
On August 9, 2012 (Thu), “Let’s exchange with the children of Kumano Town! Part 2 ”, was held. 40 elementary school students, led by 9 officials of the NPO Kumano Kenko Sports Shinkokai and Kumano-cho Commerce, Industry and Tourism Section came to Hiroshima University by bus. They had cultural exchange with 5 international students and 2 Japanese students from HU. In the morning, the groups learned about each other by the elementary school students asking the international and Japanese students about their hometowns etc. Then, they ate together curry and rice at the university cafeteria. In the afternoon, the elementary students took part in a campus tour, guided by students of the university. The elementary students were surprised by the size of our campus and went back to Kumano with various impressions, such as “I touched a meteorite at the museum!” ; “I was happy to learn about the international students’ home countries”; and “I would like to go to university”.
We hope that through these exchange activities elementary school students from Kumano will learn to accept diverse values by coming in contact with different cultures. For the international students of our university, we hope that the exchange with elementary students and the local population will help them understand Japanese tradition, culture and education by experience.
International Exchange Group,
Education and International Office,
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