12 students accompanied by staff delegation leader, Ms Wenda Leong (SB) participated in the 18th Mobile Intensive Learning Experience (MILE) Programme at Kanazawa, Japan from 9 to 22 Sept 2006. Joannah Zhong Xin Yan a second year School of Business student pursuing a Diploma in Media and Communications shares her experience with us.
by Joannah Zhong Xin Yan,
School of Business,
Second Year Diploma in Media and Communications
|Paying attention to our hosts. |
Apprehensive? Nervous? Excited? Those were some of the feelings I experienced when I boarded the plane at Changi Airport, Singapore. It took a while before it finally dawned on me that this was "IT". The trip that we had waited for so long was finally here.
Following the flight to Tokyo, we boarded a transit flight to Komatsu Airport. What greeted us there were unfamiliar faces that yet exuded warmth and hospitality. As we were all exhausted from the long journey, many of us used the opportunity to get some rest, while I tried to practice my welcome greetings in Japanese for my host family.
Upon reaching Kanazawa Technical College or KTC, many smiling and eager faces awaited us. The Principal of KTC, Dr. Yamada gave us a short welcome speech, followed by Ms. Wenda Leong, our delegation leader, while we were guessing among the people, who would be our host for the next 11 days. One by one, our questions were answered.
|Beautiful trees, breath-taking scenery and pretty kimonos. What more can you ask for? |
My host, Ai Yamagishi, surprised me with her fluent English. That put aside my worries about any potential communication problems. Her mother and sister were there to welcome me too. I struggled with my Japanese greetings initially, but they encouraged me to carry on. They loved the orchids from Singapore which I presented to them.
Okaa-san, my host mother, prepared a sumptuous dinner for the family. After dinner I presented to each of them their individual gifts, as well as souvenirs for the family. There are five members in Ai Yamagishi's family including her, her parents, younger sister Megumi and younger brother Yu. Their faces lighted up with excitement as they recognised The Merlion, a symbol of Singapore.
The following days were filled with surprises and fun as we visited the Principal, Dr. Yamada and Chairperson, Izumiya Rijiicho, as well as toured various attractions in the city. The places that left the deepest impressions on me were the samurai house, 21st Century Art Museum and hot spring. Surprises came from the adjustments I had to make in terms of lifestyle, such as using chopsticks more often and boarding the bus from the back and alighting from the front.
|I'm sure my friends and family in Singapore will like these souvenirs! |
Ai and her family touched me greatly with their hospitality. They tried their best to make me feel at home and I felt very comfortable there, like I was part of the family. As the saying goes, "Actions speak louder than words" and my host family and Japanese friends certainly exemplify that, with their amicable smiles and efforts to speak English with me to aid communication.
11 days soon passes without us realising it. Soon, we were once again caught up in the hustle and bustle of preparing the Sayounara Party. Pre-performance jitters and last-minute changes aside, everything went smoothly and the mood was jovial that night. Everybody called it a day early so as to go home and pack their luggage. We were all smiles until the time came for us to board the bus to Komatsu Airport. One by one, tears started flowing down our cheeks as we bided the place that was home to us and the people we called family.
|Sayounara Kanazawa! We'll be back! |
Farewell is indeed easier said than done. Kanazawa and her people have a special place in our hearts and memories there are definitely memories we will treasure.
Sayounara Kanazawa... We will be back!