By Mick Jensen
Annemieke Burgerhout has returned to Ashburton College after a nine-month study stint in Japan and is eager to continue her Far East study journey.
The Year 13 student won one of just two national scholarships last year and immersed herself in the Japanese language and culture while studying at Osaka Kun-ei Girls’ School.
She was a home-stay student with three different families and describes her trip as “a once in a lifetime experience”.
“I arrived in April and in time for the Spring blossom, which was just amazing.
“The whole experience was unforgettable for me, both culturally and also in terms of immersing myself in the language.”
Annemieke said one highlight had been a big school cultural festival in September, where she had been involved with presenting a dance spectacle called The Gods.
“It was a lot of work, including some weekends, but it was great to be involved with and we even managed to win our competition.”
While in Japan, Annemieke completed her Level 4 Japanese Language Proficiency Test and will tackle the higher N3 level this year.
Her Japan school experience included attending classes on most Saturdays for half a day, a daily commute that included a bike ride, train and walk and also regular classroom clean ups.
“In Japan it is the students who are tasked with keeping the classrooms clean, which was fine by me.”
Her sightseeing trips included visits to the cities of Kyoto, Kobe and Hiroshima and also some island hopping.
“I made some good friends and we keep in touch through Messenger. I message some of them in English and others in Japanese, which is cool.”
Annemieke said her grasp of oral and written Japanese had increased and she was more confident with the language in general.
While she missed out on taking her NCEA Level 2 examinations because of being overseas, she will complete Level 3 this year in English, Japanese, History, Geography and Maths.
“My trip has made me eager to study something with Japanese at university.
“I’ll be trying for a possible Japanese scholarship this year and I quite like the idea of being a Japanese teacher or a translator one day.”