Japanese exchange student Shuko Tomoto reflects on her time in Grafton.
Japanese exchange student Shuko Tomoto reflects on her time in Grafton.

Japanese student returns home

SHUKO Tomoto’s big smile and warm personality have become a welcome part of Grafton during the past 11 months.

Miss Tomoto, 17, has made the Clarence home since April last year, when she arrived as part of the Rotary International Youth Exchange Program from her home city of Gifu in Japan.

Attending Grafton High and living with four different host families, Miss Tomoto said she had experienced some large cultural and climatic differences during her time in Australia.

She said the ‘hot Christmas’ was one of the biggest contrasts.

“I get freezing cold on Christmas Day every year in Japan and we sometimes have a white Christmas,” she said.

“But last year, there was no snow and no school.”

Miss Tomoto said her first impression of Grafton was that it was ‘really peaceful’.

“We don’t have any cows or horses in Japan,” she said.

“It is just really peaceful here – very calm and quiet. And Grafton people are really friendly.”

Miss Tomoto, who could read but not speak English when she first arrived, is now more than capable of holding a conversation.

She owes it to chats with her host brothers and sisters, and her friends at Grafton High.

“Talking to them was a really quick way to understand better,” she said.

Miss Tomoto returns to Japan on tomorrow, and will be farewelled by her host families and friends today.

One of her host fathers, David Hart, said it was ‘great’ to have Miss Tomoto to stay.

“We loved having her,” he said.

Miss Tomoto said she would miss her host families and friends.

“I really want to come back here with my family... that is one of my dreams.”

The exchange was organised by the Grafton Midday Rotary Club.



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