AIU Voices

2017.12.04AIU Voices

Involved in the Community: Isobel Dowell, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Isobel Dowell Victoria University of Wellington in Japanese elementary school classroom Akita International University

Isobel introducing New Zealand to elementary school students in rural Akita.

Connecting with the Community

One highlight of my time so far at AIU has been taking part in the RCOS (Research and Community Outreach Services) activities.

Through RCOS I have had the opportunity to interact with Japanese school children. The main purpose of this is to enable the students to practise their English. I have been very impressed by the high level of English of the students and their ability to communicate effectively.

Introducing New Zealand at an Elementary School

Isobel Dowell Victoria University of Wellington in Japanese elementary school classroom Akita International University

During a cultural exchange at Omagari Elementary School, Isobel taught students about New Zealand and its culture while experiencing Japanese elementary school for the first time.

I have also been lucky enough to visit two schools as part of this programme. The first school was Omagari Elementary School where we played games with the children and spoke to them about our home countries. They weren’t able to pinpoint New Zealand on a map however by the end I’m sure that I had sparked an interest amongst them to find out more.

Surprising Differences in Elementary School Culture

The children then helped to prepare the lunch. I found it very admirable that they were so willing to help out at such a young age.

Once they had finished their lunch, I was surprised to see that they all got their toothbrushes out and started brushing their teeth along to a song. I had never seen anything like it!

The children at Omagari Elementary School were very warm and welcoming so it was a pleasure to share this day with them.

Bringing the Haka to Rural Japan

The second school that I visited was an Elementary and Junior High school in Ugo Town. The highlight of this day was teaching the children the ‘Haka’, which is the traditional Māori war dance that is famously performed at the start of rugby games. The kids loved learning it and performing it in front of their principal.

RCOS Activities a Must at AIU!

Through RCOS activities I have had the opportunity to meet Japanese students from different parts of Japan. I have had the chance to improve the way that I teach English while also being able to practise my Japanese, when there is a misunderstanding with an English word.

I highly recommend RCOS activities since there is a large variety of different types that you can be part of, whether you want to welcome the students or go on a day trip to visit them.

I can confidently say that these activities have made my time spent at AIU a dash more exceptional.