Yuri’s cultural exchange

August 09, 2017

Sheridan Mortlock and Yuri Kishinaka outside Finley High School.

Having studied English from home in Osaka, Japan for five years, Yuri Kishinaka says spending a month in the Southern Riverina will help her to hone her skills.

Yuri will attend classes at Finley High School until the end of this month.

She is also learning a lot about the language and the Australian culture from her host family — the Mortlock family in Jerilderie.

“I have studied English for five years. I want to improve my speaking and understanding of English,’’ Yuri said.

“The Mortlock family has been kind; they’ve helped me with my English.’’

Yuri’s visit was inspired by a Jerilderie Lions Club meeting that Finley High School student Sheridan Mortlock attended.

‘‘I attended a Lions meeting earlier in the year to make a speech and I got talking to two Lions members from another district,’’ she said.

‘‘We were discussing our interests in Japan and that’s when they told me I could host someone through Lions, as Lions is based all over the world.’’

Yuri was given the option of which country she could visit, and after choosing Australia she was then selected by Sheridan to come to Jerilderie.

And the bonus is that Sheridan will also get to experience the Japanese culture, travelling to the country with her father, Justin, this September as a holiday.

While it will not include a chance to attend a local school, Sheridan says she will be meeting up with Yuri.

Sheridan said her interest in the Japanese culture was inspired by her father, which prompted her to study the language through distance education.

‘‘Dad has always enjoyed the Japanese culture; he does karate and likes Samurai swords,’’ she said.

‘‘Finley High doesn’t offer languages as subjects, so I have to learn Japanese by distance.

‘‘Going to Japan should help with my studies as well.’’

The Mortlock family has hosted Japanese visitors in the past, but it was when they were still based in Melbourne.

‘‘We’ve hosted an exchange before, but that was a teacher who stayed with us for 12 months. Dad and I will be visiting her when we’re over there, too,’’ Sheridan said.

Yuri said she enjoyed her first week at school last week, while Sheridan said her family has plenty in store for Yuri during her stay in Australia.

“We’re going to a family bonfire in Wagga, and we’ll also spend a weekend in Melbourne,’’ Sheridan said.

‘‘We’ll mainly show Yuri some local attractions though, like the Ned Kelly trail and the animal farm in Tocumwal.’’

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