Japanese students bring perspective

Karen Valde

Fifty-two high school students and six staff members from Kaisei Gakuin, a Catholic school in Japan, arrived at BSM on September 14 to experience American culture by staying with students and their families.

This is the second year that students from Kaisei Gakuin have journeyed to BSM. “Kaisei Gakuin and Benilde-St. Margaret’s partnership started from a request from a parent of a former BSM student. They said it would benefit the students,” said Ms. Lidibette Rosado-Guzmán, Diversity Coordinator.

Kaisei Gakuin and Benilde-St. Margaret’s share a heritage with the Benedictine Order, which makes their connection stronger. “The partnership between our school was made formal last year,” said Dr. Sue Skinner, principal. In order to make this partnership formal Dr. Tift and Mitsuo Takada, the principal of Kaisei Gakuin, signed a letter of agreement on June 11, 2010.

BSM students were tour guides and hosts for the Japanese students allowing them to learn about how these Japanese students interact with the American culture and people. One of the tour guides, junior Grace Ronning, said, “Masato Kawashima helped me to think of different words so that I could communicate with him. It was nice to experience the view of another culture and learn more about Japan.”

For students at Kasei Gukuin, wearing uniforms is a part of their school’s culture. “The BSM kids loved how the Japanese students came in their school uniforms,” Ms. Guzman said.

Even though BSM students do not get to go to Japan, they were able to experience a little Japanese culture. “[The Japanese students] gave us a very positive experience,” said Dr. Skinner.

In response to their experience at BSM, one of the Japanese students, Aya Kudo, said, “It is very big with many people.”

The Japanese students were only here for seven days. Their itinerary included a Mississippi River boat ride, a visit to Minneapolis Institute of Art, a college tour of St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict’s, and trips to the Science Museum, the Sculpture Garden, the Renaissance Festival, and the Mall of America. The final night of their visit was a Sayonara Party, which featured performances by Japanese students .