City welcomes students from Japan

CULTURE SHOCK: Japanese students and girl scouts at Ballarat Town Hall with deputy mayor Mark Harris. Picture: Lachlan Bence

CULTURE SHOCK: Japanese students and girl scouts at Ballarat Town Hall with deputy mayor Mark Harris. Picture: Lachlan Bence

Two delegations of Japanese students have arrived in Ballarat to continue a 29-year relationship going strong.

The Hyogo Troop 17 gir scouts and junior high school students come from Inagawa, Ballarat’s sister city in Japan.

Their trip has included visits to many of the city’s most iconic tourist spots, such as Sovereign Hill, the Ballarat Gold Museum and the Ballarat Wildlife Park.

They also stopped at Ballarat Town Hall for a folk dance from their home city.

Ballarat City deputy mayor Mark Harris said there had been many cultural exchanges since the relationship with Inagawa started.

“It is a great relationship - we have swapped engineering staff and that sort of thing, but the thing that has really continued to blossom is the relationship between host families,” he said.

“People in their 20s often are world travellers, but at school age they value that home relationship they get with the host families.

“It is often their first experience outside of Japan, so they do come here a bit wide-eyed.”

Mr Harris said the two cities would work together ahead of the 30-year anniversary in 2018.

“We are up to our 29th year in Inagawa, for the majority of that we have had students visit,” he said.