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City of Ballarat Community Magazine March 2010
Students exchange culture in
our Sister City
Two Ballarat students recently experienced the trip of a lifetime, travelling
to Inagawa-cho, our Sister City in Japan.
The first and second prize winners of Ballarat's annual Inagawa Speech
and Cultural Contest were Rohan Kelly from Ballarat High School and
Belinda Fraser from Loreto College. They spent the first two weeks of
December 2009 as exchange students in Inagawa-cho, learning to
advance their Japanese language skills and to augment their knowledge
of Japanese culture.
The exchange was organised and funded by the City of Ballarat and
assisted by the Ballarat Japanese Teachers Network.
Both students enjoyed visiting numerous schools, restaurants, tourist
attractions, local businesses and emergency organisations. More
importantly, they had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the
lifestyle of two host families in Inagawa, through their home stay.
The City of Ballarat reciprocates the visit of our exchange students by
hosting two Japanese students each year in March. This year, Ballarat
welcomes the winners of Inagawa-cho's English Speech Contest - Mr
Naoto Takai and Miss Kazumi Inoguchi.
Initiatives such as the Inagawa Speech and Cultural Contest allow Ballarat
to continue strengthening its strong, 22 year, relationship with Inagawa-cho.
The Inagawa Speech and Cultural Contest is conducted annually for
students undertaking Year 10 Japanese language studies.
John migrated to Ballarat from England in October 2007, with his
Australian wife Leigh and their six month old daughter Ruby.
John is a primary school teacher and moved to Ballarat without a job.
Having left behind a large extended family and a circle of close lifelong
friends, he initially found the move to Ballarat quite daunting.
John is now a teacher at St Columba's Primary School. Being a part of a
school community has helped make John feel welcome and have a sense
For John the challenges of integrating into an emerging, diverse
environment are ongoing. He has devoted time to soccer as a way to meet
new people and found that there is real diversity within his soccer team.
With men and women from different nations
experiencing the same highs and lows
associated with migrating to a new city and
country the soccer team has given John a
sense of community.
John is enjoying his role as a
Multicultural Ambassador and the
opportunity to meet new people
and work with his fellow
ambassadors who each have
the betterment of Ballarat
at heart. He also enjoys
sharing his positive
experiences with his
school children and
their parents to make
them think more about
their actions and how
they can influence those
John looks forward to Cultural
Diversity Week and hopes to see
Ballarat residents share their
uniqueness together in a
Below: Belinda Fraser and Rohan Kelly in traditional Japanese dress
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