Japanese students on an exchange visit to St Andrews with their hosts, pupils from Madras College. (Photograph by Peter Adamson)
Japanese students on an exchange visit to St Andrews with their hosts, pupils from Madras College. (Photograph by Peter Adamson)

Four Japanese students have been experiencing life in Scotland during on a 10-day exchange visit thanks to their hosts from Madras College.

The families of Ben Levy, Jack Michie, Eve Primmer and Sophia Zomerdijk-Russell have each welcomed one of the visiting students into their homes.

And they will make a return trip next summer, when they will be guests of the Japanese students’ families.

The exchange was organised by St Andrews Links, and has also been supported by the community council.

During their time in Scotland, the four Japanese students – Aira Fukuda, Sachihiko Wakimura, Reina Watanabe and Shiori Kotani – have visited local attractions, such as the cathedral and castle in St Andrews, experienced land yachting on the beach courtesy of St Andrews company Blown Away, danced at a ceilidh at Forgan’s in the town, toured the Highlands with Madras College teacher Jim Tarvit and enjoyed a visit to Edinburgh.

They also spent a night camping out in Sophia’s garden in Wormit last night and a barbecue at Tentsmuir Forest.

Jack’s mum Liza Wares said: “We have all thoroughly enjoyed having the students and we have all learned a lot from them.

“Friendships have been formed which I hope will last a lifetime.

“Next summer they will all meet again as our children will fly over to Japan for their turn on the exchange programme.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for our children and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

During their Highland adventure, the eight students visited the Cairngorms and took a trip on the funicular railway, staying the night at a hostel near Aviemore. The next morning they took a dip in Loch Morlich at 6.30am!

They then headed to Loch Ness before staying the night in Inverness. Then it was on to Fort William and Glen Coe before returning home.

The Japanese students really entered into the spirit of the exchange, and thoroughly enjoyed their first ceilidh and the chance to try land yachting.

Liza said: “They experienced a great night of dancing and music and they were eager to learn some of the steps and joined in the dancing with our kids.

“And all of the kids were keen to try the beach yachting. We spend a fun filled morning on the West Sands, watching all of the kids zooming up and down, followed by a picnic on the beach.”

The four Japanese students are due to begin their journey home today (Friday), and Liza said all the families involved wanted to thank everyone who supported the exchange programme.

She added: “They all had a fun-packed few days.”