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Japan Experience Study Tour 2004

Each year the Great Britain Sasakwa Foundation offers a group of students from an inner city school in the UK the chance to spend a week experiencing ‘real life’ in Japan.
The students of Small Heath School have been selected for this year’s tour. The local MP Roger Godsiff supported their selection and played a large part in promoting the school.

The students stay with Japanese families and are given the opportunity to visit police headquarters, local schools, a recycling plant, a deprived community and a nursing home, which cares for the elderly. They are also able to experience Japan’s super transport system on a trip to Hiroshima to visit the site of the atomic bomb explosion.

It is hoped that the students will talk and write about their experiences upon their return and will build long term relationships with the people they meet during their tour.
Our students will have the opportunity to learn about a society and a culture completely different to their own.

Small Heath School will be represented by 12 students and two members of staff. The tour will take place between 18th and 28th November. The students selected are all of Asian, Muslim backgrounds (as are 98% of the school population). The Sasakawa Foundation is meeting the expenses for the trip.

This really is a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity for our students all of whom will be studying in the sixth form in November. They have already gone through a rigorous selection procedure, they have enjoyed the delights of Sushi at an information evening and they will be receiving Japanese lessons next term as part of the preparation for the trip. Whilst there we are hoping to establish video-conferencing links between Japan and Small Heath to allow the students to share their experiences on a daily basis with their friends back in the UK.

DRAFT Press Release

A Meeting of Cultures

A group of twelve British Muslim teenagers will be setting off on November 18 to experience Japan. These keen students, seven girls and five boys from a high-performing school in a deprived area of Birmingham, will spend a week exploring Japanese society, culture and technology through a programme arranged by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.

Peter Slough, Headteacher of Small Heath School, comments: “This study trip will undoubtedly give our young people a greater knowledge and understanding of others which will remain with them for the rest of their lives. This is particularly important within the present climate of world unrest. We are extremely grateful to the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation for allowing our students such a wonderful opportunity.”

The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation Japan Experience Study Tour

Each year, The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation offers a group of students from an inner-city school in the UK the chance to spend a week experiencing ‘real life’ in Japan. Staying with Japanese families, the teenagers, accompanied by two teachers, have the opportunity to see aspects of Japanese life in the Osaka region such as a recycling plant, a police station, a nursing home and a rehabilitation project. They travel on Japan’s super transport system and visit Hiroshima to see the site of the atomic bomb attack. They will meet Japanese teenagers and have a chance to discuss world affairs and issues such as crime and policing, housing and the environment as well as enjoying Japan’s leading edge youth culture in music, fashion and design. On their return, it is hoped that they will share their experiences with others and help to build long-term relationships with Japan.

Liaison in Japan is provided by the British Council and all the local arrangements are made free of charge by the Osaka International House Foundation, a local government organisation for international exchange.

Previous groups have been from Glasgow and Belfast. The Small Heath School was recommended by Roger Godsiff, MP for Sparkbrook & Small Heath, who is also Chairman of the Parliamentary Japan group.

Roger Godsiff MP says about this project, “……………………………..……..”

Small Heath School

Small Heath School is an inner-ring, co-educational 11-18 comprehensive school, established in 1983. In 1994 it was accorded Technology College status and opened its own sixth form. It currently has over 1300 pupils enrolled, most of whom are of Asian origin, with families predominantly from Pakistan or Bangladesh. The school, which was described by a former Prime Minister as “an example to others”, emphasises family values, a harmonious atmosphere and high standards, with 97% of students achieving 5 or more GCSEs and many going on to A-levels and vocational qualifications.

The students

Applications were invited from students aged 16-17 and the seven girls and five boys were chosen on the basis of their responses to a questionnaire about their reasons for wanting to visit Japan. As well as the technology, the scenery and the social values of Japan, they emphasised the importance of experiencing life away from home and the need to adapt to a different culture. In spite of some concerns about dietary problems and using chopsticks, members of the group are all keen to learn more about Japanese culture, food and society.

Responses included the following:

“I am applying because I believe I will be a great candidate to represent Birmingham in this once in a lifetime cultural trip to Japan.”

“Japan has always interested me as it is a highly technologically advanced country, but still has a sense of spiritual belief and tradition instilled within the culture.”

“Japan’s vast technology such as automobiles, steel, robots electrical and electronic goods.”

“For me, the most important reason would be to visit Hiroshima and feel what was felt and experience what was experienced by the people involved in this great catastrophe.”

“From the research I have done, I think I will like the mutualism between the Japanese people.”

Notes for editors

· For further information about The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, details of the study tour and reports from previous groups, contact:

Sarah McIlwaine, Programmes Executive
The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation
Dilke House
1 Malet St
London WC1E 7JN

Tel: 020 7436 9042

· For further information about the school and/or the students, contact:

Sue Hemming
Deputy Headteacher
Small Heath School
Muntz Street
Small Heath
Birmingham B10 9RX

Tel: 0121 464 7997

· For further information about the Parliamentary Japan Group or contact with Roger Godsiff MP, contact:

Ian Hughes
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA

Tel: 020 7219 5191

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