I was in Japan for a total of 18 days and I can easily say this was the most insightful and amazing experience of my life. The learning experiences that I took part in allowed me to see more of Japan than I ever thought possible. During this trip, we visited three primary schools, a kindergarten, a shrine and a high school, where we had the chance to see their routines and how their culture is ingrained everywhere we went.
After each visit, my heart was filled by their welcoming nature and eagerness to know more about us. This was shown by their willingness to speak in my home language as opposed to theirs. I remember during lunchtimes the students would have their English language books and would ask phrases to me like ‘Do you like sport?’ or ‘How are you today’. These moments left me continuously reflecting on how New Zealand's current school system could adapt or change for the better in relation to learning languages or even celebrating cultures.
As I am writing this report, the main thing I have brought home from this experience is having more confidence in myself and my abilities as a teacher. By successfully completing the study tour, I am now a more open-minded and confident individual as I have tried things I didn't think I would and have formed connections with people that will last a lifetime. This trip forced me to take a leap into the deep end of the pool, by giving me many opportunities to teach large groups of students and speak/present in front of my peers which is something I have previously struggled with. As a result, I feel as though this experience has increased my confidence and my passion for teaching has been restored.
I want to extend my gratitude and thanks to all of those people who organised our trip, I had the most amazing experience of my life and this wouldn’t have been possible without your support and help.