Meikei High School’s friendship with Christ College, Brecon

Meikei High School is a private, combined junior high and high school located in Tsukuba, Ibaraki. Since being founded in 1979, the school has openly welcomed returnee students and developed many friendships with schools throughout the world, especially with Christ College, Brecon (CCB), UK.

CCB is a private school in the heart of the Welsh countryside, founded in 1541 by Royal Charter, by King Henry VIII, who gave it its name.

The friendship between the two schools started through the game of rugby, with both schools having strong teams and being very passionate about the game. When CCB visited Japan in 1997 on a rugby tour, Meikei welcomed them. Over the years this link has grown stronger, and now includes a two-week cultural exchange program for four students from each school. In addition, Christ College, Brecon offers the chance for one Meikei student to join their lower sixth form for a period of one year.  This is a fantastic opportunity for any student who wants to experience life overseas and continue his or her education at the highest possible level.
Kento Kumagai — who this summer returned to the second grade of Meikei High School — was the first student to take up this opportunity. Kento’s motivation to study overseas was rugby. Being a keen member of the Meikei rugby team, he was able to continue to develop these skills whilst improving his English and studying for his AS levels in four subjects. Kento chose mathematics, physics, design technology, and geography. In addition he had three hours of English a week to help prepare for the IELTS examination.

Kento said, “The opportunity to study in this environment has really opened my eyes to the choices that are open to me. Living in the boarding house gave me a chance to be independent and time to think about my future. Sunday was a very free day with time to relax a little, visit the school gym, complete assignments, and generally hang out with friends. I had the chance to play rugby and also did some fell running in the summer term. There was a really good balance between work and play. I even had time to practise the guitar a little, improving sufficiently enough to play a song on stage at a recital. I would encourage people to have this kind of overseas experience if at all possible.”

Kento is now considering his options for the future. Back in Japan he has rejoined the Meikei rugby team and is hoping that he will be able to contribute towards making a really strong team. Their goal is to win the National Championship in Hanazono.

In addition to this, Kento is interested in product design, having excelled in design technology, a subject not usually offered at high school in Japan. Thanks to the education he received at Christ College, he now has the options of both Japanese and overseas universities.

Anybody interested in learning more about Meikei High School or this program is welcome to look at the homepage at http://www.meikei.ac.jp/ or email [email protected] — STEPHEN BIRD

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