The Return of Overseas Visitors to St Aloysius

The Return of Overseas Visitors to St Aloysius

A highlight of Term 1 has been the return of overseas visitors to St Aloysius on study tours. Over the last month the SAC community has been joined by three groups of Japanese students.  Every year during the northern hemisphere summer vacation, it has become a tradition for students, principally from Japan to venture abroad. Australia is a favourite destination and Adelaide has become one of the Australian cities to which overseas Study Tour students are attracted. After a few quiet years it has been wonderful to welcome these students and it has been great to see the friendships and intercultural understanding that has been fostered.

The largest group to join us were 24 students from St Capitanio high school in Japan.  Students from St Capitanio have been visiting SAC every year for over 20 years and were the first overseas group we welcomed back last year. This enthusiastic and confident group of young women were immersed in lessons ranging from Art and Drama to Science and PE. They were ably assisted in their integration by their buddies who were happy to share their recess, lunchtime, and lessons to make friends. Buddies discovered many things about Japan while helping the St Capitanio girls to improve their English and enjoy a taste of Australian school life. The St Capitanio girls also spent some time in the Primary School. It is always exciting for our Primary students to welcome students from Japan and the many activities such as mask making organised by the Primary teachers were greatly appreciated by our guests. Another highlight of the tour were the farewell events, the Year 10 Farewell Assembly, afternoon tea and the beautiful farewell ceremony in which the St Capitanio students delighted us wearing their beautiful yakata kimonos.

In Weeks 7 and 8 we welcomed students from Kogakuin Junior High School from the Yamanashi province in Japan. Their home is very mountainous (two hours west of Tokyo near Nagano, where the 1998 Winter Olympics was held). For four days five students joined the Year 8 classes and for six days one student joined 10MB. Our final study tour group joined us in Weeks 8 and 9, nine students from Mejiro Kenshin high school joined 9CW, 9DT and 9SM for two days. There has been much laughter as our Japanese visitors enjoyed getting to know their Australian classmates and learnt about Australian school life and culture.

During their time with us our guests have been supported by their SAC buddies. After completing a training session designed to build the students understanding of the challenges our guests face and strategies to support them the study tour buddies have enthusiastically tackled their role. Guiding them around their new school environment and helping them with their class work. The buddies did a wonderful job, performing their role with enthusiasm and commitment.

The Study Tours have been a wonderful opportunity for both the St Aloysius students and our guests. Strong friendships have developed, and an understanding and appreciation of our countries has been fostered. The success of these experiences is very much due to the warmth and enthusiasm of the buddies, classmates and teachers involved.

Ms Michelle Barratt
Study Tour Coordinator


Reflecting on the visit of the St Capitanio Girls High School Study Tour to the English Language School of Australia (ELSA) Adelaide, Written by host:  Angelika Eigenwillig

Having been a Host Mum since 2012 of the St Capitanio High School Girls, I was asked to share my experiences.  Each student is different and individual so it takes a day or two to adjust to each other and bond. I still have contact with a couple of students and treasure our friendship. One student even returned to Adelaide to reminisce and came to visit, and when my son went to Japan with his partner she took time off work to show them around Tokyo.

Each year (except for 2022) in February we welcome students from St Capitanio Girls High School, Japan, to take part in their English Studies in Adelaide.

Each host family is allocated just one student, so the temptation to speak Japanese is omitted.  On the first day the students are apprehensive about how they will fit in with the Host Family and vice versa.  The Australian Culture is quite different to Japan as is the food and customs. However, in the end, with the reassurance of the host family that this is their home for the next 7 weeks, they all settle in well.

For the first 4 weeks, the students study English at ELSA during the morning followed by an outing to various venues in Adelaide e.g. Botanical Gardens, Museum and Art Gallery, Adelaide Town Hall, Adelaide Central Market, Migration Museum, a visit to Adelaide University, a bush walk at Morialta Conservation Park as well as taking the tram to Glenelg Beach. They also had a bus excursion to Victor Harbor, which included a walk across the causeway to Granite Island where they observed the historic Horse Drawn Tram. The Tramway commenced operation in 1894 and is one of two remaining in the world that operate a daily service. Going to Marion Aquatic Centre was also fun. Getting to hold and be photographed with a Koala at Gorge Wildlife Park always creates everlasting memories.  

During the 4th week the students are introduced to their Buddies who help them integrate into the ‘Real Class Room’ at their relevant host school.   Weekends were left for the girls to Relax with the Host Family.  

Many questions are asked and one of the first is always: “Will I see a real Kangaroo / Koala in the wild?” We were lucky because on our first walk around Hope Valley Reservoir we observed a mob of kangaroos grazing under the trees. Then on our walk back home we saw a Koala in a gum tree. Wow – My prayers were answered and my student was overjoyed!

Weekends are time to relax with Host Family? No way! We went on on hikes, did a little more sightseeing e.g. Mt. Lofty, Mt Lofty Botanical Gardens, Waterfall Gully, Port Adelaide, Semaphore Beach, Beerenberg in Hahndorf for strawberry picking as well as fig picking at Glen Ewin Estate, Lower Hermitage, and as the Fringe was on we even went and saw a Japanese Magic Show at the Garden of Unearthly Delights.  Having family living in Pt Willunga meant a drive to Aldinga for lunch, then a walk on the beach at Pt Willunga.  A trip through the hills to Mt Barker with the VW Volks Enthusiasts Club, of which I am a member, for a picnic lunch at Flaxley Reserve followed by a private tour through The Steam Ranger Headquarters. There we had a 1 ½ hour private tour of the Steam Engines/Trains that were being refurbished by volunteers. 

The St Capitanio Farewell Ceremony was held on Friday 31st March 2023 at St Aloysius College, McAuley Auditorium to which we, the Host Families were invited.  The girls looked beautiful in their traditional dress and we were entertained with their songs and presentation of their certificates. Photos were taken and hugs were shared with their buddies. Another 7 weeks Study Tour has come to an end.

Each student had their special time with their Host Family and no doubt will share their experiences with each other and their own families in Japan.

We live in a beautiful State and have so much to share.

The 1st April was a sad day when the girls all met at Adelaide Airport at 7:00am. Tears were shed and hugs were shared.  Another year has passed.