Year in Japan for two Bruneian students

Farid Aziz Hj Ramli (2nd R standing) and Amirah Zamain (standing R)

A group photo of the two students, Farid Aziz Hj Ramli (2nd R standing) and Amirah Zamain (standing R) with Muhd Hadi Iskandar Abd Razak (3rd R standing) and three other Bruneian students who have just returned from spending a year living in Japan under the Jenesys programme, with officials from the Japanese embassy in Brunei and the Ministry of Education, during a sharing session held at the embassy in Kiulap. Picture: BT/Ubaidillah Masli

TWO more Bruneian students will soon embark on an exchange programme that would see them spending a year in Japan, living under the care of foster families and partaking in Japanese high school education.

Amirah Zamain and Farid Aziz Hj Ramli will leave for Japan in March for the inter-cultural exchange programme organised by the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths.

They were at Japan’s embassy in Kiulap yesterday morning to hear of the experiences from the previous batch of Bruneian students who were involved in the programme since last year, and have only returned to Brunei recently.

Also present for the sharing session were the embassy’s Councillor Akira Sato and officials from the International Unit of the Department of Schools, under Brunei’s Ministry of Education.

“This meeting has helped me a lot. They (the previous batch of students) know how it’s like to be part of this (programme) and how the life is there. I’m learning a lot from their experiences,” Amirah told The Brunei Times yesterday.

She had just started Secondary Five in Tanjong Maya Secondary School in Tutong this year, but will be postponing her studies here to participate in the programme.

“I’ll definitely keep in touch with my friends back home,” said Amirah, in regard to leaving her former classmates.

Meanwhile, Farid Aziz Hj Ramli from Rimba Secondary School, said that he has been studying the Japanese language through watching anime, the popular Japanese cartoon, and reading language books he got from a friend.

Although nervous, both participants leaving this March expressed enthusiasm about their new adventure.

“The only time I stepped out of Borneo was when I went to Singapore and it was so much fun. So Japan, which I’ve always had an interest in, has got to be good. I’m looking forward to learning so many new things there,” said Farid.

Among those briefing the pair yesterday was Md Hadi Iskandar Abd Razak, 18, who took part in the programme last year.

He was supposed to be in upper sixth this year but took a one-year leave from school to join the programme.

One of the biggest challenges for these students was the adoption of a completely new language, he pointed out.

Md Hadi recalled how he communicated with his Japanese schoolmates in the beginning of the programme, “They used dictionaries or just wrote things down. I mostly listened and replied with short answers.”

“If you did something wrong, you don’t know what you did. So you have to learn a bit (of Japanese) here (in Brunei) and learn more there,” advised Md Hadi.

– Sharleen Othman
The Brunei Times
Saturday, February 12, 2011

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