iCLA’s international students welcomed kindergarten students to the iCLA campus.
On May 17th, 78 kindergarten students from Yamanashi Gakuin Kindergarten gathered on iCLA’s rooftop garden to learn about different cultures of the world from iCLA’s international students. Fifteen iCLA students from seven countries volunteered to talk about their home countries to the lively and curious children. The volunteering students represented the United States, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Azerbaijan, Australia, and South Africa. The event was organized by iCLA Japanese Language Program’s Jun Imaki-sensei.
iCLA students taught the children about icons of their home country, such as animals, sightseeing spots, foods, and famous people. Students also prepared easy-to-understand photos and items for their presentation to the children. The children were overjoyed to meet people from the countries they had been learning about in their lessons at school. They had the opportunity to ask questions to the iCLA students and learn greetings in different languages.
The iCLA students were volunteers from Jun Imaki-sensei’s Japanese language classes, eager to help kids learn about the world beyond Japan and practice Japanese. More experienced Japanese language learners presented entirely in Japanese, and helped to interpret presentations that were done in English. The volunteers consisted of 1st-year to 4th-year students.
The event has been held annually since 2016, when Imaki-sensei’s own daughter had been attending kindergarten. Inspired by the possibilities of international exchange between iCLA’s students and the young children curious about the world, Imaki-sensei organized the event in collaboration with Yamanashi Gakuin Kindergarten to create opportunities for learning, cultural exchange, and community outreach. Though the event had been on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has recently been resumed to the joy and excitement of the kindergarten and iCLA students.
At the end of the event, the kindergarten children tremendously enjoyed interacting with iCLA students, and invited iCLA students to visit their classes at Yamanashi Gakuin Kindergarten. As thank you, the children presented their handmade origami ninja stars to the student volunteers.