I found out about Yorkshire and Humberside Japanese School a year after my family and I moved to England. My younger sister and brother were also able to attend the school. However, I was too old to join. Despite this, I was allowed to help teach as a volunteer, and I feel that this experience was a turning point for me.
At first, I did not really fit in at secondary school in England. I had come to England after the Great East Japan Earthquake, and I missed Japan, so I may not have tried to integrate. Fortunately, I did not need to be a student to get involved with Yorkshire and Humberside Japanese School. The school welcomed me as a volunteer, and for the next two years, I worked as an assistant teacher.
What struck me personally in the little I saw of each grade level was the variation in the language levels of the students in the same class. This was a combination of many factors, including the age at which the students arrived in the UK, family circumstances, and their state of mind when they left Japan. Even so, the teachers were creative and they encouraged the students who could do things quickly to help those who did not understand.
As a result, by the time the students graduated from the supplementary school, they were all able to speak Japanese well enough to live in Japan. Furthermore, we often chatted in Japanese during breaks and after school, deepening our friendship and improving each other’s Japanese. In fact, I recently met a graduate who travelled to Japan on her own, and she still keeps in touch with her classmates and meets with them. If you are a child of Japanese descent living in Yorkshire, you should attend the Yorkshire and Humberside Japanese Language School as much as possible. Furthermore, even if you are too old to attend, I still highly recommend you visit this warm and welcoming organisation.