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Closing the Gap: The 2022 Hokkaido International School (HIS) x Sagara High (SHS) School Exchange
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On October 28th, 2022, Sagara High School made the journey to Hokkaido to visit HIS as a part of the HIS x SHS exchange club program. Both of our schools completed the Mt. Moiwa hike together in order to promote our relations.


Closing the Gap

The 2022 Hokkaido International School (HIS) x Sagara High (SHS) School Exchange

Words: Kate James

Photos & Video: J. Pangier

Translation: T. Brennan, M. Sasaki, A. Arutouna, K. Masuda, and R. Suzuki 

**This article is the first in a series of exchanges between HIS and SHS. Stay tuned for more articles to come.**

As Yusuke Nishio from SHS said, “When I entered [HIS,] I felt like I was in another country. It wasn’t like any school that I [had] ever entered [before]”. The opportunity to interact with people from different backgrounds and hear their stories is the crowning achievement of any exchange meetup. Founded by Masayori Hasegawa (‘21, Student Body President, Huskies Legacy Association President) during the fall of 2021, Sagara High School students and the Huskies of HIS gathered together to create the HIS x SHS Exchange Club. This year marks the second trip for the Exchange Club after HIS members visited SHS to conclude last year's efforts. And now it's Sagara’s turn to visit our campus!

After arriving in Sapporo, the Sagara students came to HIS by bus during the 4th block of the day, making it just in time to split into groups and interact with the three different Japanese classes. During these classes, students from both schools got the chance to introduce themselves and ask questions to get to know their partners. This was a great way to connect using our shared experience with language study.

In regards to this activity, SHS’s Kaede Ito said, “I felt the difference in motivation for learning between Sagara High School and HIS during this [language] training. I felt that HIS students are highly motivated to learn, and that not only I, but Sagara High School as a whole, should learn from them. This training is not an experience that everyone can have, so I am happy that I was able to have such an experience, and it will remain as a good memory for me when I grow up.” 

Following the end of 4th block, SHS students joined in on the Halloween movie night taking place in the MPR room to watch ‘Monster House’, making more opportunities for SHS students to spend time with HIS Huskies and forge friendships. 

Bright and early the next morning, Sagara High School showed up on our school's doorstep, and we all jumped on the bus to start the journey to Mt. Moiwa. The quiet bus ride went by quickly, and before anyone knew it, the hike was about to begin. To start the climb, both schools got together to take a group photo in order to commemorate the trip. The goal of this hike was to form groups that members will work with moving forward. Students talked during the hike between the breaths required after Moiwas uphill climbs. At the halfway point, students played around to make someone run across the steep hill while other members were still catching up, ultimately using ‘Janken’ to decide. Garyu (HIS), Theodore (HIS), Tsubasa(SHS), and Ren(SHS) all made the journey across to talk and take photos on the other side.

After starting back up on the hike, students reached the shrine of skiing where another break was held. Students could catch their breaths and pray to the shrine if desired. While waiting for the remaining climbers to meet up with the main group, SHS students cheered Garyu on as he showed off his B-boying skills before heading up the final stretch of the hike. 

Students breezed through the end of the hike and made it to the Asahiyama memorial park building, where groups were to be created and photos to be taken. After filming a few videos for publications, students choose groups with who they got to know during the hike. Now that the groups had been made, everyone was sent to eat lunch in the leisure lounge within the building. Groups sat at tables to eat and talk more, finding out what they had in common and practicing their language skills. And in the middle, ice cream was available for purchase, creating a long line for hungry students who bonded over the common love of ice cream.

And with that, the hike had come to an end, and students went back on the bus and said goodbye to their newly found friends. The trip was a total success creating a bright future for our schools' relationships. As HIS’s Theodore Brennan said, “As we strive for the end of the pandemic, restrictions are slowly being lifted, and opportunities such as the HIS x Sagara High School Exchange program rise to help us discover different cultures and ideas of people with different backgrounds…Not only did it help me further understand Japanese culture, but it also helped me get used to talking to and starting friendships with new people who have different cultures than mine.” 


The 2022 北海道インターナショナルスクール x 相良高校交流

文章:K. ジェームズ

写真と動画:J. パンジャー

翻訳:T. ブレネン, M. 佐々木, A. アルトウナ, K. 増田, R. 鈴木

SHSの西尾ゆうすけは、「 入った瞬間、別の国にいるような気分になりました。今まで入学し入ったどの学校とも違っていました。」

さまざまな背景を持つ人々と交流し、彼らの話を聞く機会は、あらゆるエクスチェンジミートアップの最高の成果です。2021年秋にハセガワマサヨリによって作られた相良高校の生徒とHISのハスキーが集まり、HIS x SHSエクスチェンジクラブを設立しました。今年は、HISメンバーが昨年の取り組みを締めくくるためにSHSを訪れた後、エクスチェンジクラブの2回目の旅行です。そして今、SHSが私たちのキャンパスを訪れる番です!

第4ブロックの終わりに続いて、SHS の生徒は、MPR ルームで開催されたハロウィーンの映画の夜に参加して「モンスター ハウス」を見ました。

翌朝早く、相良高校が学校の玄関先に現れ、皆でバスに飛び乗って藻岩山への旅が始まりました。 静かなバスの旅はあっという間に過ぎ、いつの間にかハイキングが始まろうとしていました。登頂を記念して、両校で集合写真を撮りました。 このハイキングの目的は、メンバーが前進するためのグループを形成することでした。 モイワさんの上り坂を登ったあとの息抜きの合間に、生徒たちはハイク中に話しました。 途中、急な坂道を他のメンバーが追いつく中、生徒たちが遊び回り、最後はジャンケンで決定。 臥竜(HIS)、セオドア(HIS)、つばさ(SHS)、レン(SHS)の4人が対岸で話をしたり写真を撮ったりしました。

ハイキングを再開した後、生徒たちはスキーの神社に到着し、そこで再び休憩を取りました。一休みして、神社でお祈りする機会もありました。遅れてきた生徒が登り終え、メイングループと合流するのを待っている間、SHS の生徒たちは、ハイキングの最終段階に向かう前に Bボーイを披露した Gary に歓声を送りました。学生たちはハイキングの終わりを通り抜け、グループを作り、写真を撮る朝日山記念公園の建物にたどり着きました。


そして、ハイキングが終わり、生徒たちはバスに戻り新しく出来た友達に別れを告げました。この旅行は私達の学校関係に明るい未来をもたらすことに大成功でした。HISのブレナン セオドアが言うように、コロナの終息に向けて努力しているうちに、徐々に制限が解除され、HIS×相楽高校交流プログラムのような機会が生まれてきて、異なる背景を持つ人々の異なる文化やアイデアを発見するのに役立っています。日本の文化をもっと理解するのに役立っただけでなく、異文化を持つ新しい人たちと話をしたり、友達になったりすることに慣れるのにも役に立ちました。

  • Cultural Exchange
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