What was it like to be in Japan for the first time? Some of the PSBB students chosen to visit the country as part of the Japan-SAARC programme relate their experiences

Nine students from the Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan (PSBB), Nungambakkam, visited Japan under the “Japan-SAARC High School Students Invitation Program 2011” from November 23 to December 2, 2011. Awarded by the Government of Japan exclusively to High School students, the aim was to provide them with an opportunity to interact and exchange views with the people there as well as the high schoolers from the SAARC countries.

The PSBB, Nungambakkam, was the only school from India to have participated in this programme which was organised in collaboration with SAARC and came under the SAARC Special Fund. The students were accompanied by their teacher Chandra Ramani.

The criterion for selection: it should be their first visit to Japan. An essay competition on “My motivation to go to Japan” and a quiz were conducted by the school authorities to select the students for the programme.

The visit was not only academically enriching for the students, but also socially and culturally. They were made to stay in Japanese homes to get a first-hand experience of their culture. This year, the programme focussed on Japan's efforts in the field of resource recycling and renewable energy. The topics for discussion taken up by the PSBB students in Japan were water treatment in Pammal, the pollution of the Cooum, the Ganga project, water disputes and wastage of water.

One session involved splitting the students from different countries and forming groups. Then they made a PowerPoint presentation on the topic of their choice. Shreya, a student who was part of the group, said, “We learnt the art of Origami and made paper cranes.”

Cultural performance

As part of the programme, the students gave a cultural performance.

They were also taken to places of interest — the Miyajima Island also known as the Island of the Gods, the Panasonic centres, the Tokyo Metropolitan Nogei High School and the peace memorial in Hiroshima.

Dhruv, another student, said, “We stayed in Tokyo for three days and learnt about the ways of disposing waste without harming the environment.” Ashwin, yet another student who visited the country, presented a painting to Kazuyuki Hamada, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, who presided over the farewell on the last day of their visit.

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MetroplusJune 28, 2012