From time to time, participants in the college’s study abroad to Nishinomiya, Japan, led by Tom Salsbury, will be giving updates on their experiences. This one was written by preservice teachers Kim Moon, and received no editing from the college.

It’s Friday! It has been another great week at the junior high school, but today we spent our time at the Nishinomiya Higashi High School. I was super excited to work with the high school students today to see how much English they knew. Most of the students were able to answer basic conversational questions, which was super fun! We first met the principal and received a tour of the school. The students became distracted as we walked by their classrooms. The students at this school were equivalent to 10th-12th graders in the United States. We interacted with each grade for half a period. The 3rd year students (12th grade) were working on listening comprehension. While the teacher played the passage, we would help the students pick out the main points in the story. The 3rd year students were a joy to work with, since their English skills are a little more advanced. However, they were a little shy in the beginning. The 2nd year (11th grade) students were all preparing for their midterms and working on grammar and pronunciation. During our time with them, the teachers asked us to read their passages with them so they could hear a native speaker instead of their CD. We all felt very privileged by this offer and the students enjoyed working with us a lot. We spent the last half period with the first year (10th grade) students, who were working on reading fluency and pronunciation. We participated in an echo read, during which we really focused on pronunciation. It was sad to leave since we only got to spend one day with them. However, it has been a great opportunity to see a wide range of students from elementary school to high school to understand the English language education here in Japan.

After saying our “Good-byes” to the principal, teachers, and students at the high school, we all headed to LaLaPort mall for lunch. Finally, we found a McDonalds and a Mister Donut! Most of us got some food that tasted a little less fishy! During lunch a nice Japanese man came up to us and attempted to speak English. He was so sweet and really tried hard, but was unable to use enough English so that we knew what he was saying. He disappeared for a few minutes and came back with an orange for us, which was one of the best oranges that I have had since we have been here. He was kind enough to take a selfie with us and departed saying something in Japanese. We all enjoyed our free time this afternoon wandering around the mall, exploring the city more, and taking a little nap! A few of us found some great souvenirs for family and ran into another Japanese man with a USA hat, who acknowledged us.

This evening we were fortunate to spend some time with a few of the local teachers here. First we went to have dinner at a ramen restaurant. This was by far some of the best ramen I have ever had! It is definitely better than the top ramen all of us college students know so well. We enjoyed talking and getting to know the teachers here better. I was super excited to learn about the ALT (assistant language teacher) positions as I might come back to teach English for a year. Then we all went to participate in some Japanese karaoke! We all got to sing some classic karaoke songs and enjoy each other’s company. All in all week 2 here has been wonderful and we cannot wait to enjoy more of Japanese culture in our final week!