The 2019 student exchange program between Newhaven College and Ibaraki Christian Junior High School in Japan is significant as it marks 20 years of friendship between our schools.
The key element of this exchange program is to immerse students in a different culture and language and to share ideas in order to further develop intercultural understanding.
Fifteen ibaraki students visited Newhaven this year staying with school host families to experience Australian life. They attended school and visited many local attractions during their stay with meeting our Australian wildlife a highlight of their trip.
In Japan, 20 years is considered to be a time of ‘coming of age’, so to commemorate this milestone occasion a Japanese Friendship Garden was created at the College by a group of Year 6 students led by teachers Ross Bencraft and Lachlan Gale.
The garden was officially opened on 5 August. Ibaraki teacher Larry Weatherford read out a letter from Ibaraki Principal Randall Voss before he and Newhaven Principal Gea Lovell cut the ribbon across the torji gate to declare the garden open.
The garden features a weeping cherry tree, three Japanese maple trees, Japanese boxes and bamboo. Entrance to the garden is by walking through the ‘torii’ gate or over a bridge.
The garden bridge connects the Japanese garden with an Australian native garden to symbolise both the bond between the two schools and the bridge that exists between Australia and Japan.
The students cannot wait to see cherry blossoms in spring and the colours of the maple leaves in summer and autumn.