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Ribston Hall High School

Ribston HallHigh School

A Celebration of Cultures: Ribston Hall Welcomes Students from Japan.

Written By Harroop Kaur Bhandal, Year 12
In an exciting cultural exchange, Ribston Hall High School has had the pleasure of hosting two Japanese students, Wakana and Hinata, from Notre Dame Jogakuin High School in Kyoto, Japan. Embarking on a three-month journey from January 6th to March 25th.

These ambitious young women are here to experience life in England as they pursue their dreams of attending university abroad. Wakana wants to become a lawyer, aiming to assist her grandparents with the legal aspects of their medical equipment business in Japan. Meanwhile, Hinata aspires to be a teacher, hoping to make a positive impact on future generations. Both are currently living with host families in Cheltenham and attending Ribston Hall High School during their stay.

We are privileged to host them in our sixth form. Wakana and Hinata’s foreign exchange has also opened the doors for an exchange of ideas, knowledge and cultural practices, this has been the perfect opportunity to reinforce our Ribston values of compassion and tolerance, it has also promoted understanding. We as a sixth form embraced the opportunity to show the girls all the amazing aspects of our country and our school, as we are essentially the unofficial ambassadors for England!

Hosting them has enriched our 6th form in many unexpected and wonderful ways. It’s really given a fresh perspective on daily life at our school, watching Wakana and Hinata be so delighted by things like the signage in the hall and the lion statues outside reception, has really made the 6th form appreciate how lucky we are to be in such a lovely school.  

Ribston 6th form provides an engaging, enthusiastic and encouraging environment that allows it’s students to excel academically, personally and socially; we are thrilled to be able to share this positively inspiring atmosphere with people from across the globe.

Getting to Know Wakana and Hinata: A Glimpse into Their Ribston Experience

Wakana is living with a lovely host family, with an older brother Joel, and older sister Alice, and she is also enjoying the company of the families dog and cat. Hinata has the company of a 10-year-old sister, a 6-year-old brother, and an adorable dog in her host family. The girls express their joy in making friends at Ribston and have quickly become enamoured with Ribston's close-knit community, describing it as a "big family" highlighting the friendly and welcoming atmosphere here at Ribston Hall. Their observation of the strong Ribston community spirit is a testament to the school's inclusive environment. Their favourite aspect of Ribston has been the warm reception from fellow students, reinforcing the school's reputation for a strong and sociable spirit.

Global English Course: A Bridge Connecting Cultures

Notre Dame Jogakuin High School offers three courses a standard course, a science course and a global English course. Wakana and Hinata are part of the Global English Course. All of Wakana and Hinata’s 23 classmates are currently worldwide, 15 are based in Cheltenham and the rest are in places such as, the USA, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. At Ribston, Wakana is studying mathematics, biology, and textiles and Hinata is studying English, drama, history and textiles. The global English course emphasises English language skills, grammar, and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are 17 goals that Wakana states teach them “how to help and change the world.” Something the girls are very passionate about.

Cultural Fusion: From Kyoto to Cheltenham

As well as sharing their delicious Japanese cuisine with all of us in the common room, the girls are also enjoying sampling a wide variety of English foods and Wakana's curiosity has led her to express a desire to visit the renowned Toby Carvery! The girls have grown fond of our chocolate cake and cheesecake, they are really enjoying trying lots of new foods. Wakana and Hinata would really love to visit harry potter studios, but as that is too far for us to take them during a lunchtime, we hope to take them to visit Gloucester cathedral where part of Harry Potter was filmed!

This cultural exchange proves to be mutually enriching, as Ribston Hall High School students are gaining invaluable insights from their Japanese counterparts. The Ribston Roar encourages everyone to make Wakana and Hinata feel at home during their stay, embracing the diversity and knowledge they bring to our school community allowing us to gain valuable insights into Japanese culture, language, and global perspectives. As the exchange unfolds, Ribston Hall High School remains steadfast in its commitment to fostering an environment where diversity is celebrated, and friendships transcend borders.