Canterbury College students have travelled to the Hiroshima Peace Park, Japan, to see a paper crane display that they contributed to.
About 10 million cranes are sent to the park annually for a display that is lined with prayers for peace.
College staff member and tour leader Susan Walduck said it was wonderful to see the cranes on display in Hiroshima along with messages of peace from around the world.
“Despite the improvements in technology, my students can virtually walk through the Peace Park if they want, the learning that comes from experiencing the atmosphere is so much more powerful,” she said.
“That’s why we keep going back.
“The students learn more than just phrases and about cultural practices.
“They learn about themselves, how to work in a group, about organisation and about enjoying the journey and not just aiming for the destination.”
Ms Walduck said students had made cranes in 2016 as part of the play ‘Sadako’ and they were then donated to the languages faculty.
She said students from Canterbury’s sister school Mikunigaoka visited and taught the other students how to fold cranes earlier this year and ensured 1000, “a lucky amount” were made to be sent back to Japan with a plaque designed at school.
Ms Walduck said every two years the college took a group of students from Year 9 to 12 to Japan in the September school holidays to take part in cultural learning.
“This year the students also visited Kinkauji – the Golden Temple, Iwatayama mountain in Kyoto and got to stay and eat at a Tokyo ryokan – traditional inn,” she said.
Year 9 student Emily Hendra said she liked seeing what teenagers from another part of world like and the fashion choices they make.
“Harajuku, the funky shopping precinct in Tokyo was my favourite place,” she said.
“What I’ve realised from the trip is the importance of reflection and thinking about how things are different around the world.”
Fellow year 9 student Lia Russell said the shrines were her favourite place as they had a lot of tradition and were very quiet.
“I now know that you can find common ground everywhere, even when the differences seem significant,” she said.