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Exchange students visit from Keio Yokohama Elementary School!

Exchange students visit from Keio Yokohama Elementary School!
Senior Partnerships

In April, WHS were delighted to welcome our Japanese partner school, Keio Yokohama Elementary School, on a cultural exchange, run jointly with King's College School. Undeterred by their rather British greeting of April showers, Keio students excitedly alighted their minibus to the far warmer greetings of their exchange families.

A group of 16 students, accompanied by 4 Keio teachers, joined Year 7 students from both schools for a taste of London life the Wimbledon way. During the school week, students shadowed our students in lessons and went on excursions. School activities included a ‘History of Wimbledon High’ quiz, special lessons in English, DT, Spanish, yoga, and tennis, as well as a celebration of the Wimbledon High School experience in their GROW lesson led by Year 7 and 8.

The Keio students spent a whole day sightseeing out in London, which included Buckingham Palace, the National Portrait Gallery, Big Ben, Westminster, and taking a trip on the London Eye. Their Year 7 hosts also joined them for a trip to Hampton Court Palace, where they were lucky enough to meet Anne Boleyn (head intact) and lose themselves in the maze. The week was topped off with a traditional afternoon tea with students from past exchange trips. Unfortunately, the age-old question of whether cream or jam should go first on a scone could not be resolved by our Keio friends.

There was a farewell brunch at King's College School on the final Saturday and many tears as Keio students and staff departed for the airport. An absolute testament to the care and kindness of our host families. It goes to show that a cultural exchange to London is not about seeing old buildings and eating fish and chips but, rather, the experience of being part of a family and forming friendships that are stronger than language barriers.

Our Exchange programme with Keio Yokohama school first took place in 2018 and is currently led by Lucia Paraska and Morven Ross. It is a three-way initiative with King's College Senior School, with the objectives of appreciating different cultures, developing interpersonal communication skills, independence and resilience, and adapting to a new environment. This is what some of the WHS girls had to say about their exchange experience:

I found the week very exciting, and I loved showing my exchange around; it was also very tiring! The most exciting part was probably when we went to Hampton court and did the selfie competition. I thought it would be challenging to communicate but it was surprisingly easy!

I found the first week very fun. I was a little nervous at first but now I can’t wait to go to Japan! The most exciting part was doing really fun things with them! They were quite carefree, and would have fun wherever they were, so I also had fun! The most challenging part was the communication. If I asked her a question, I did not know if she really meant it or if she was just being polite, but when she got more comfortable with me and my family, I think she got more confident. I was surprised how different their culture was. They took their time in everything, unlike me who rushes around everywhere. 

This year’s WHS Exchange cohort will be heading to Japan in October 2024 and we look forward to hearing about all their adventures on their return.


Flickr album: Exchange with Keio Yokohama Elementary School | Height: auto | Theme: Default | Skin: Default Skin


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Exchange students visit from Keio Yokohama Elementary School!