Lake View students traveled to Japan in order to learn about Japanese culture and school life.
Chicago Sister Cities and the Osaka Government connected the students with their host families and school. The Gen-J grant from the Japan foundation provided $19,000 to cover flight and hotel costs.
While visiting the schools in Osaka, students noticed many physical differences that stood out to them. “Japanese high schools were a bit older.” said Natalia, one of the students on the trip. “Lake View High School is a little more modern, we have more technology.”
There were also cultural differences with schools. The students were involved in class, participating, and raising their hands, and sharing out with the whole class.” said Saad.
When asked about what they thought about that level of participation, they initially thought that this type of school is something they wished we had. “I feel as if it’s better for us to be the same way they are because that is how students learn from each other, it makes us more of a community.” said Miriam.
In comparison, the Japanese students commented on aspects of our school that they liked. “They said that we had a lot more freedom than they did because we have the choice to take classes that we want, like electives.” said Mikayla.
The freedom students have here was also evident in the way the school day and student’s movement is planned.
“We get to move from classroom to classroom. Kids there stay in one unless it is a computer lab. Otherwise, the students stay put in one room, the teachers switch classes.” said Mikayla.
The students continued to notice different freedoms and how those freedoms were balanced with responsibilities.
Their freedom is more like disciplined freedom… you have to be one time.“We can go out and be late if we want, but there are consequences. But for them there are no consequences; they all follow the rules.” said Miriam.
The students commented on how there were was no trash can or trash, arrows indicating which way to go up the stairs, little kids could walk to school alone, and no one struggling to get buy. All hallmarks of a well-organized society.
“Everybody is on the same page, like no bad blood, and they really follow the rules to make it that way.” said Saad.
But is all this sameness a good thing in the student’s eyes?
“Everyone dresses the same...every clothing store was the same… They all had the same sweaters, pants, and shoes on.” said Mikayla
The students are still weighing the pros and cons of freedoms versus order as they adapt back into life here at home.
After reflecting on questions about the trip, students had developed deeper insight on their experiences abroad. “They live a life with no struggle but we do. I feel we need to struggle to learn… were here struggling to find our own way.” Said Miriam.