From 12th December 2015 to 23rd December 2015, 12 students from various schools and diplomas and 1 staff from DSA embarked on an Overseas Cultural Exchange Programme to Kanazawa, Japan. This was the 26th Mobile Intensive Learning Express (MILE) Programme organised by Department of Student Development and Alumni Relations (DSA). MILE Programme is an exchange programme between Kanazawa Technical College (KTC) and Singapore Polytechnic (SP). The trip allowed the team to experience homestay, cultural immersion, educational and recreational activities in one of the prefecture in Japan. Through each of the 10 days in Kanazawa, we stayed with a local household and followed the lifestyle of the family. It was a rare opportunity that we are grateful to have had.
Visits to Schools
We had the opportunity to visit 4 different levels of Japanese educational institutions, namely, a university (Kanazawa Institute of Technology or KIT), a technical college (KTC) , a Junior High School (Ishikawa Takamatsu Junior High School) and a nursery (WAKO Nursery).
At KTC, we had the honour of meeting the President and the Chairperson of the Board and heard from him the history of the college and the 32 years of strong ties with SP. We were also shown the facilities of the college.
A photo after one of their business module tutorials
A science class in a Junior High School
Next at Ishikawa Takamatsu Junior High School, we were given a facility-tour round the school, allowing us to explore the workshops, science labs and sports hall. They even allowed us to join some of the ongoing classes! We had lunch and played traditional games with the local students.
Student demonstrating a game of Kendama
WAKO Nursery Principal giving us a briefing on the history of the Nursery
At the WAKO Nursery, the Vice-Principal of the nursery gave us a small insight on the background of the nursery and gave us a tour of their school.
Although most of us did not speak Japanese, the communication barrier seemed to be non-existent as we were able to connect with them through plays. It was a great experience overall and we all hope that the kids had a wonderful time with us as we indeed had a great time with them!
Chanel playing with a kid
We tried our hand at the local lacquerware art in Kanazawa; creating our own masterpieces.
Lacquerware Art Experience
As part of the cultural programme, we visited Shirakawagō in the neighbouring Gifu Prefecture, one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites where there are many traditional gassho-style farmhouses (steeply-sloped roofs) kept alive in the beautiful nature of Shirakawa-go.
Gassho-style farmhouses Perhaps the most memorable part of the cultural immersion is the 10-day Homestay where we travelled with our student host from their home to the college, had dinner and lived with the Japanese household just like one of the members of the family. Barry with his host family
‘Embarking on this trip gave me the chance to feel how it’s like to be a student in Kanazawa and also the feel of staying in the countryside. … The thing that made me feel most ‘at home’ was the family’s love shown to me. It reminded me of my parents back in Singapore and allowed me to experience what it would be like to have siblings’
Chee Yeng, 3rd Year, School of CLS
Chee Yeng posing with his host family
‘Throughout the 10 days I have lived with them (host family), I saw how both how the Father, Mother and my host brother treated their grandmother with utmost respect, talking to her nicely and helping her out with her needs’
Sung Joon, 3rd year, School of EEE
Though the stay in Japan was a mere 10 days, the friendships we forged amongst ourselves and the friendships we share with students of KTC is something that none of us will ever forget. The 26th MILE Programme holds unforgettable memories for the 13 of us.
‘I’m going to ….be even more independent and self-reliant. I will depend on my parents lesser and get rid of my mind set of relying on my parents …’
Zihui, 2nd year, School of ABE
‘My host buddy and I would travel to school by bus most of the time and reach at least 40 mins before the given time. It was something then I wish into inculcate into my daily life. Then I would never be late for school.’
Daniel, 1st year, School of EEE