Sinéad O’ Connor
Here at Friends School we really value making connections and building friendships with people from all around the world. We have biannual visits from students in our sister school, The Friends School Hobart, Tasmania. We have exchange students from AFS and Rotary join our school for a long term program. We often have Quaker guests from many different countries visit us for varying lengths of time. We have occasionally had video chats with past exchange students or with the pupils at the Statehouse Girls School in Kenya. Sadly, in the school year 2019 - 2020 we weren’t able to host any students due to the ongoing pandemic. This also saw our video chats and other events get put on hiatus to avoid close contact situations. While I’m hopeful things are going to get better and we will once again have the opportunity to embrace these experiences I think it will take some time. Until then, let’s look back at some of our past exchange students who have kindly sent messages to us this month.
Amanda Ferreira Kato is from Brazil. She was a student with us for 10 months during the school year 2012-2013
She was a member of the pottery club.
My memories from Japan and the school are still some of my favorites, it was definitely one of the best years of my life, and one I’ll never forget. Right now I’m working on my Masters degree, researching about pathogenic fungi and the human immune response. Lately I’ve been studying Japanese again, because I don’t use it here, I ended up forgetting most of it, but it’s slowly coming back to me, and it’s been really fun to remember!
Best wishes, Amanda”
Kira Binkley is from Indiana in The United States of America. She was a student with us during the school year 2015-2016
Kira was a member of the tea ceremony club and pottery club. When Kira was back in Japan on vacation she surprised us with a visit. She joined some of our high school classes as a guest. It was fun to catch up with her.
I’m currently taking time off of school to help take care of my family, but I am pursuing a business degree. As for using Japanese, it's hard to continue by myself, but I try to study every now and then.
I'll always remember the memories and friends I made at FGS. Even in these hard times, I hope you all make the best of your time at school, and carry all those memories with you into the future.
Take care, Kira”
Océane Boucault is from France. She was with us for 10 months during the school year 2016 - 2017. Océane was a member of the volleyball club and very popular with all the students. We have had quite a few video chats with Océane since she went back to France and she surprised us with a visit when she came back to Japan for summer vacation a year or two ago.
I’m Océane but while I was in Japan everybody called me オセ. Right now I'm taking a gap year to earn some money because I'm planning on moving to Japan soon. I’m also studying to pass the 日本語能力試験 N2 exam. I'm an AFS volunteer in France so I get to use Japanese sometimes.
Noorazzalina ‘Azza’ Gazali is a student from Malaysia. She was one of three exchange students here in 2018. Azza was a valued member of ESS and the Japanese Sign Language Club.
I’m currently in my first year of a university degree program. I don't really use Japanese since I don't really have any Japanese friends to talk to but I do say あれ a lot even now, like when I'm looking for something, or when I'm confused. みんなさんに伝いたいことですが、勉強は全部じゃない! 人生を楽しみましょう! 頑張れ!
See you again, Azza”
Maria Y. Juarez is a student from Panama, and she was our most recent exchange student. She was here for 10 months from March 2019. Maria was a member of the tennis club and the art club. We had the honor of seeing traditional Panamanian clothing and dance at the school festival thanks to Maria. It was such a lucky thing.
Now, I'm in my 3rd semester of a medical bachelor degree. I still try to practice or at least see Japanese movies, not many people can speak Japanese here so that’s a big achievement for me. I will always be so thankful for the opportunity and experience to be part of FGS. Students and Staff, you were so kind to me and without all your support things wouldn’t have been so great. I will always remember my teachers, classmates and everyone who I got to meet and I wish just the best for each one of you, you will be always in my heart.
All my best, Maria”