Face Time: Poly Fifth-Graders Connect with Japanese Counterparts Via Skype

Published : Friday, January 31, 2014 | 10:49 PM

In preparation for a face-to-face visit later this spring, fifth-graders from Mrs. Breen’s and Mrs. Garcia’s classes recently Skyped with students from Ritsumeikan Primary School from Kyoto, Japan. The Poly students introduced themselves, as did the Ritsumeikan students. They took turns asking questions (in English) about each other, such as “What is your favorite cuisine?” and “What is your favorite subject in school and why?” The students discovered that their counterparts’ favorite subjects are art and gym. They were delighted to find out that they had many other things in common, such as enjoying a nice steaming bowl of udon, sushi, and a funny movie, such as My Neighbor Totoro, but were most impressed with their English.

“We feel very lucky and are so excited to meet the Ritsumeikan students in person in March,” shared Alessia C. and Jacqueline C., both Poly fifth-graders. The classes have had two Skype sessions to “meet” the Ritsumeikan students, who will be visiting Poly the first week of April. “I liked being able to see the Japanese students as they talked about themselves,” said Maya M.

Skyping gave everyone a chance to get to know each other and to share interests and hobbies. “It was like a portal to another world,” said Maren A., “Their customs, lifestyle, and their fluency in English are fascinating.” Poly and Ritsumeikan students have discovered just how much they have in common, despite the 17-hour time difference and 5,683-mile distance. They are all excited for this much-anticipated visit.

The two schools are planning a few more Skyping sessions prior to the Ritsumeikan students’ arrival. This weeklong visit will be a first for Poly’s Lower School, and Poly’s fifth-graders feel privileged to host their 18 guests. The Ritsumeikan students will attend classes with both fifth grades classes and will go on field trips, such as a walking tour of Caltech. They will also have the chance to do some sightseeing of locations unique to California.

What the students are probably looking forward to most is the home stay. Each Ritsumeikan student will spend two nights with a Poly family, which will provide them the opportunity to practice their English and to enjoy a taste of American culture.

To see—and hear—a little bit from the first Skype session, click here.

Polytechnic School, 1030 E. California Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 396-6300 or visit www.polytechnic.org.

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