ST BRIGID’S College in Horsham welcomed 15 Japanese students during a special assembly on Monday.
Languages co-ordinator Jeni Allen said the school was proud of the connections it had forged between Australia and Japan.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for our students to gain first-hand experience speaking Japanese with people who are fluent and for them to learn English from us,” she said.
Year 11 student Tarnee Arch said she had hosted a student for three years.
“Each year has been a different experience and they have helped me improve my Japanese,” she said.
Miss Arch gave a speech in fluent Japanese during the welcoming assembly. Joining her was year 11 student Mia Panozzo, who welcomed Italian exchange student Chiara Bottazzini in fluent Italian.
Matsudo International High School’s English teacher Saki Takeuchi said the students hoped to improve their English and develop friendships.
During their first day at St Brigid’s College, the year nine students prepared a football clinic program to teach them basic skills.
Physical education faculty co-ordinator Cameron Pickering said the school wanted to provided them with a cultural experience.
“Football is a big part of our community and we hope to assimilate the Japanese students into our community by teaching them the sport,” he said. “A lot of the host families will take the students to weekend games, so hopefully they will now understand what is happening.”
Mr Pickering said it also sharpened awareness of basic skills and how to communicate effectively within a limited range of language knowledge.
Year nine student Aidan O'Connor said it was interesting teaching the basics because it had become second nature to him.
“At first we didn’t know if they understood, but now they’re getting straight into it and kicking goals,” he said.
The students from Matsudo International High School are in the Wimmera for three weeks.