Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

A little exchange goes a long way

  • Print
Sixteen students from Setagaya, Japan, visited Henry G. Izatt and General Byng schools in September. The Canadian 
students will visit Japan in March.

SUPPLIED PHOTO Enlarge Image

Sixteen students from Setagaya, Japan, visited Henry G. Izatt and General Byng schools in September. The Canadian students will visit Japan in March. Photo Store

The rising sun of the Japanese flag hung on the flagpole beneath the maple leaf at Henry G. Izatt Middle School in September as the Whyte Ridge school hosted exchange students from Setagaya, Japan. A city-ward within Tokyo, Setagaya is a sister city to Winnipeg.

The student exchange between the twinned cities began in 1971 at General Byng School. In 2011, Darren Oughton, vice-principal of Henry Izatt School in Whyte Ridge, was invited by Judy Pirnie, principal of General Byng, to allow Izatt to be joint-participants in the exchange. That year saw the first group of Japanese students arrive at Henry Izatt and, the following spring, the reciprocal visit of Winnipeg students to Japan. The biannual program is being repeated this school year.

The focus of the exchange is goodwill, communication and culture-sharing.

A rigorous selection process for the interested students from Grade 8 and 9 of the two schools — 8 girls and 8 boys in total — starts the year before. Applicants are interviewed on their written and verbal skills as well as their ability to adapt to experiences outside of their comfort zone. Evening Japanese classes lessen the language challenge faced by the chosen students and their accompanying teachers and administrators.

The Setagaya students arrive here with a leg-up, having studied English in their schools.

Differences in time zone, food, school dress code and pedagogy are quickly overcome as our cultural diversity is showcased through field trips, in-school activities and outings with host families.

A visit to a Hutterite colony and the talents of hoop-dancers from the Aboriginal School of Dance opened the eyes of both the Winnipeg students and their Japanese visitors. Canoeing and corn mazes in the warm September sunshine offered a sense of our wide open natural spaces.  

Oughton wishes it were possible for more students to participate in the exchange program. The outcomes of cultural respect, friendship and the skill sets gained in overcoming differences are priceless.  

In late September, the visiting students  boarded the plane for the flight home but their sadness was tempered with the joy of knowing that friendships forged over the short stay will be rekindled in March as 16 students from Henry G. Izatt and General Byng schools will complete the circle of goodwill. In the meantime, there is Facebook.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Fall Arts Guide

We preview what’s new and what’s coming up in Winnipeg’s new arts season

View our Fall Arts Guide

Readers' Choice Awards

Best Of Winnipeg Readers Survey

See the results of the 2014 Canstar Community News Best of Winnipeg Readers' Survey.

View Results

This Just In Twitter bird

Poll

Do you think Canada Post should be responsible for clearing snow away from its community mailboxes?

View Results