This has been such a rich and authentic experience for myself and the other fourteen girls. I believe the home stay was an incredible opportunity and allowed us to be fully immersed in a culture different to my own. This allowed me to develop my personal understanding on different aspects of the Japanese culture, for example, saying a thank you before eating a meal and using chop sticks. A highlight for me was going to Kyoto as it was very authentic and beautiful. It was very interesting learning about the history and being in a very calming and peaceful environment.
Something that I will take away from this experience was the importance of appreciating and being aware of another culture, as well as reflecting on my own. For me, it is hard to define what New Zealand’s culture is as we are constantly surrounded by it and don’t think about it. It was very rewarding to be able to take a step back from my own culture and take this time to reflect on what my culture is. Again, thank you for the support I and the others received whilst on this trip. I will cherish these memories forever.