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Xinzhuang Elementary School & Shinjo Elementary School Teachers & Students Interact in English

Teachers and students at Shinjo City Elementary School in Japan having a video meeting with the teachers and students at Xinzhuang Elementary school in Nantou in Taiwan

Shinjo City, a host town for Taiwan at the Tokyo Olympics, is located in Yamagata Prefecture in Japan. The mayor of Shinjo City, Mr. Jyunki Yamao (山尾順紀), originally planned to lead a delegation to visit Taiwan last year, but the visit had to be postponed because of the corona virus.

Mayor Yamao did, however, accept a recommendation from the Education Division of Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan to begin educational exchanges between the young people there and in Taiwan to maintain the support of the Shinjo City citizens for the Olympics.

As part of this, the Education Division recommended setting up an exchange between Shinjo Elementary School and Xinzhuang Elementary School in Caotun Township in Nantou County in Taiwan. Each of these two schools writes its name with the same characters—新庄—although their names are pronounced quite differently in Chinese and in Japanese. After six months of planning, the teachers and students at the two schools held a video meeting on March 3, 2021, talking to each other in English. 

The teachers from each school introduced local specialties of their areas, and there were art work presentations, and singing and dance performances. Although it was all conducted through a video link, the cultural exchange event was as lively as an in-person one. The Shinjo Education Committee commented that the Taiwanese school children are full of energy; and spoke highly of the English proficiency of the staff members and students at Xinzhuang Elementary School. 

The Japanese teachers and students enjoyed the interaction and felt that they gained a lot from the experience. It will help the two sides understand each other more
The mayor plans to lead a delegation to visit Taiwan as soon as possible, and the schools plan to continue with further exchanges after the pandemic is over.