By Finnegan Pitchford
I didn’t know what to expect from the event titled “Kyoto Girls High School Visit”. I had signed up on AGS PCC website simply because Matthew, our activities coordinator, said we needed more volunteers for this event. The description read “Each volunteer will discuss her or his experience at PCC with five Kyoto Girls High School students. Group pictures will be taken and lunch provided.” Free lunch!
They showed up to PCC in a tour bus at about 10 am on Friday in early February. Ten other PCC volunteers (Mostly AGS) lined up outside the bus, ready to greet them. I was expecting that the school girls would be wearing school uniforms. But instead they each wore something different and unique from each other. Apparently they did not have to wear school uniforms to America.
Each of the PCC volunteers had been assigned a group of 5 girls, and we described everything to them as we followed a predefined route around the school. The students had been in America for about 10 days already, but were still impressed by the vastness of everything. They said there isn’t as much empty space between buildings in Japan. Most of them could not speak English very well, and some were shy. It was hard to get a conversation going.
The visit to our school was part of a trip to Southern California for their English language class in Japan. They were hoping to learn more English language and more about American culture. Luckily, growing up in America has made me thoroughly steeped in the rich flavor of its culture and language! As I gave the tour to my group, I tried talking as much as possible, exposing them to a maximum amount of English language and American culture.
At the end of the tour, PCC presented a slide show on the benefits of attending as an international student. It was an impressive presentation, but I am not sure if any of them will attend PCC considering that the Kyoto Girls High school has an accompanying Women’s university.
After the slide show, the PCC volunteers had 30 minutes to answer the girls’ questions or have discussion. Fellow AGS member Allison and I shared a group of 10 students. They had prepared some questions for us, such as “What is the difference between college and high school?” and “Do you have to work at the same time as going to school?” And Allison and I took turns asking our own questions such as “what do you want to do when you grow up?” and “what musical instruments do you play?” Piano, piano, piano, piano, violin, piano, they answered one at a time. Allison and I also talked about what PCC life is like and what we do in AGS Honor Society. Of course we mostly talked about AGS Honor Society.