Japanese students were literally learning what is “sup” at Rivier Academy on Tuesday.
© Herald photo by Ian Cowie.
Japanese students learn about Canadian idioms at Rivier Academy on Tuesday. The students are completing a four-week intensive English program aimed at improving the their conversational English skills.
Nineteen students from Japan will be going to Rivier Academy this month for a four-week intensive English program aimed at improving the students conversational English skills said Jeanette Eddolls, regional manager for Global Partners Institute.
Global Partners Institute is a non-profit educational organization that promotes opportunities for both Canadian and international students to take part in cross-border student exchange programs in English, Japanese, Korean and Mandarin.
On Tuesday, students were learning some of the idioms and jargon unique to Canada like “sup”, “bunny hug” or “eh?”
“We take for granted some of our idioms, but for foreigners coming to Canada, idioms can be quite confusing,” Eddolls said.
“It’s very interesting to hear some of the students interpretations on how we speak.”
All 19 students will be attending a Canadian high school following the four-week program. Fifteen will remain at schools in Saskatchewan while four will head to the Lower Mainland in British Columbia.
Five students will stay in Prince Albert until the end of June -- two at Rivier Academy, and the other three will go to St. Mary High School.
“There are many beautiful nature in Canada,” Grade 11 student Mai Kawakami said.
In her free time, Kawakami enjoys trying “Canadian food” such as “Tim Horton’s and bannock.”
Yukimi Kadada is another student in the program who said she came to Canada to improve her English language skills, and to learn more about Canadian culture.
“Everything is bigger than Japanese,” Kadada said.
Eddolls said exchange programs like these help to broaden ones perspectives in life, and it gives young people a better idea of what’s out there in the world.
“You start to see things with different eyes,” Eddolls said.
The exchange program has been running for about 14 years in Prince Albert, and it first started in Canada in 1992.
Prince Albert also receives exchange students from Austrailia and New Zealand.
“This past year, we had four students from Austrailia and New Zealand at Rivier Academy for two to three months.”
The program also gives Canadian students the opportunity to study in Japan for five or 10-month placements.
“It’s really great for kids that are wanting to do international travel in a safe environment,” Eddolls said.
“Students are supervised from the time they leave Vancouver until the time they arrive back home.”
She said many of the Canadian exchange students have developed an interest in Japanese customs such as anime and manga before going, and they were then able to cultivate that interest into something more substantial after living in Japan.
“There’s a girl in P.A. right now who has become quite fluent in Japanese, and she’s not yet been to Japan.
“All of her host sisters have commented on how well she speaks Japanese.”
Students also participate in a number of social activities that personify Canadian life such as barbeques, bowling and what visit to Canada would be complete without trying your hand at ice hockey in the winter?
“With their host families, they’re going off to the lake, going shopping, going to Saskatoon, going camping, so they get quite an enriched cross section of what happens here.”
Eddolls attributes a big part of the programs success to the dedication of sponsor families.
She said it’s a great opportunity for families who host a student from a different culture because it brings that culture into their homes without them having to leave the couch.
The next intake for families looking to host an international student will take place in March 2014.