I just wanted to let you and everyone know about a wonderful experience my Year 10 students and I had recently at Pam Howard's Nikai Accommodation in Wollongong recently.
My school is situated in Tamworth and we travel to Sydney every year with Year 10 students in order to take part in activities such as Tanken Centre, Art Gallery workshops, Japan Foundation visits, eating Japanese food and shopping at Daiso etc. Unfortunately, we were unable to book suitable accomodation in Sydney this time so had to look at another option (or not go).
Fortunately, Pam Sensei was able to fit us in and we travelled the extra 1.5 hours down the road to Wollongong. When we arrived we were greeted by a group of friendly 日本人who chatted to our kids while they (the kids) cooked dinner (やきそば). It was a really friendly, laid back atmosphere that felt like we were on camp. The
accommodation really did feel like a Japanese homestay environment. The next day we had classes on topics that I requested expertly delivered by ゆみこ先生. There was a nice balance of games, listening time, writing and speaking. The kids were totally engaged the whole time. Kids cooked all the meals, which were authentic dishes that many had never had before that were simple to make (おこのみやき, たこやき, すし). This was a highlight for many. In the afternoon there was calligraphy and tea ceremony, and we got to dress up in ゆかた. There were always 日本人 helpers at each stage and the kids really enjoyed getting to know them and practising their 日本語.
After the afternoon lessons, there was time for a beach walk (5 min walk from our accommodation) and gelato. This was a good brain break and thoroughly enjoyed by our country kids.
After dinner we had a special surprise for the kids.
A local teacher with HSC marking experience came to give my students an HSC style oral interview. We were all a bit nervous (!) but it was a great experience for the kids and I got some invaluable feedback on how my kids were travelling with their speaking skills.
Everyone had an awesome time and many memories were made.
It was great to stay on site the whole time and have access to top class language and cultural experiences. We will be back for sure!