An international aspect to the College Summer School - Japanese boys on the look out for Marlborough town hosts
For the past ten years, Japanese boys from the Tokai High School in Nagoya have been coming to the Marlborough College Summer School on a scheme organised by Learning Journeys, a study abroad consultancy.
They used to stay in College accommodation, but for the last three years, they have enjoyed hospitality from local families in the Marlborough area.
While so much language skill can be taught from books and in class, it is quite apparent that an English speaking home has given the boys' ability to converse in English a real boost. They also learn a lot about our way of life. The host families also learn a lot about life in Japan.
The idea for this came from Patrick Jackson, whose wife, Yuko, is Japanese and who used to live in Nagoya and teach English conversation at the High School. He now lives in Ireland and has a similar homestay scheme there.
Patrick's sister Alexandra Jackson Kay, who lives locally, and has been running the Marlborough scheme for the past four years, told Marlborough News: "It has proved very satisfactory for both the boys and the host families and many of our families are hosting for the third or fourth year."
"Some families have grown up children and some have little children or teenagers. It seems to work at all levels."
This year, the boys will be in Marlborough from Sunday, July 24th until first thing on August 6th. Ideally, homestay families need to be within walking distance of the College. They need a bedroom of their own and are preferably placed on their own, although sometimes they are placed in pairs. They get breakfast and supper at the homestay.
Host families need to fully embrace the 'cross-cultural' elements of the arrangement, but they do get paid enough to comfortably cover the costs of a boy's stay.
The boys are accompanied by a teacher from their school - and Learning Journeys are on hand with help and advice both before and during the visit.
The boys attend Summer School every weekday and go sightseeing in London on the middle Sunday. Otherwise, they are free to spend time with the host
families, learning what it’s like to live in Marlborough.
And how have families found the experience of these homestayers from Nagoya? One Marlborough family with young children who are hosting for the
third time this year, told Marlborough.News:
"We have really enjoyed taking part in homestay, it's interesting for us and our children to have someone from a different country and generation in our home.
"The boys clearly thrive -they are so enthusiastic about being in Marlborough and learning about life in the UK. They are so polite and perfect house guests the
worst part is the tears when they get back on the coach to leave!"
Another family who have hosted Japanese students for three years, told us they thoroughly enjoyed the experience: “Our children have loved meeting each boy and learning Japanese words - even how to write the Japanese characters - and understanding something of another country and culture.”
“The boys we have hosted have always been very polite, they spend the majority of their day time at summer school which they love, and then fit Into family life the rest of the time.”
“We still keep in touch via email and social media with all three boys. Learning Journeys are very supportive and make the whole experience very hassle free. We are really looking forward to meeting another boy this summer.”