Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Features

April 2, 2013

Teen experiences Japanese culture

BATESVILLE — Thanks to a sponsorship from the Rotary Club of Batesville and other Rotarians around the world, Katie Warmuth is experiencing another culture firsthand.

The West Harrison resident arrived in Japan Aug. 21, 2012, and will return to the U.S. at the end of June. “My mom was a Rotary exchange student to Japan when she was 15 years old. I grew up hearing her intriguing and exciting stories, so I decided that one day I had to become a Rotary exchange student as well,” says the 19-year-old.

She lives in Nagoya, Japan, one of the country’s largest cities. “In the Rotary Youth Exchange program, most students have several different host families throughout the year .... I attend Shukutoku High School. It’s a new, six-story private school with 800 students.

“Because Japanese is very hard with three different alphabets, I’m not able to follow the classes very well. I do, however, take chemistry, math, English, P.E., cooking class, calligraphy and home economics. I help out in English classes around school, and I have intensive Japanese lessons twice a week.”

Just like in U.S. schools, “students run through the halls and goof off during breaks .... (and they) take most of the same classes as a student in America would.”

However, there are also many differences. In the Asian country, “teachers, not students, change classrooms. Although we do have two cafeterias, most students eat a box lunch called obento in the classroom.

“Japanese schools are usually quite strict. Almost all have uniforms. Jewelry, makeup, cellphones, iPods and the use of electronics are forbidden in school and while in uniform. Pierced ears are also against the rules,” reports the Hoosier home-schooled student.

“We recently had graduation ceremonies for the seniors. It was discovered that one of the seniors had pierced ears. She wasn’t allowed to participate in graduation ceremonies and had to pick up her degree the following day. They take rules very seriously here.”

In her free time, the student hangs out with school friends or other exchange students who are from all over the world. “We love to wander through the city, go to karaoke, visit temples and go to a famous street market. I also study for my Japanese lessons, write my next Rotary speech, explore the area, read and spend time with my host family. Sometimes, I go mountain climbing with my Rotary club or go on Rotary trips.”

The teen reveals, “The cultural differences and language barriers are often very challenging, and they make me stick out more than I’d like to. While my Japanese is getting better every day, it can still be hard for me to communicate exactly what I want to say, and sometimes my friends speak too quickly for me to understand.”

But the young lady admits, “I love the people I’ve met .... The students and teachers are so kind and helpful to me. I love laughing, talking and goofing off with my friends.”

Margie Walke, Rotary Club of Batesville past president, says the club supported the student by providing her with spending money. She notes, “Rotary is very active in international projects. We were really happy to help her. She actually approached us, and seemed like a great candidate from Indiana.”

Warmuth emphasizes, “I’m not the same person who left American soil in August. I’ve had to learn to function in a different culture while being immersed in another language. I’ve become more confident, outgoing and independent. I’ve redefined the meaning of the words friend and family and learned the real value of having them nearby. I’ve become proficient in one of the world’s hardest languages. I’ve become more aware and sensitive to cultural and religious differences.

“This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Every day brings a new challenge, but also a new adventure .... If I could give advice to anyone who is thinking about studying abroad, but is nervous or apprehensive about it, I’d tell them to just dive in and go. It will be the most amazing adventure of your life and probably the biggest learning experience that you will ever have.”

Text Only
Features
  • nws - bv072914 - kids kick drugs (new) 'You can say no' to drugs About 50 youngsters participated in the Southeastern Indiana YMCA’s Kids Kick Drugs program July 26. Master George Dwenger (a person receives the title of Master after completing the 4th Degree Black Belt) told the youngsters, “First and most importa

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws - bv070814 - muething RAA gave theater founder his start When John Leo Muething was 5 and living in Batesville, his three older siblings and parents, Dr. Steve and Meg Muething, starred in the Rural Alliance for the Arts production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” but, much to his dismay,

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws - bv070814 - jeffers West Point graduation Jeffers savors West Point experience Tom Jeffers, a 2010 Batesville High School graduate, recently graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point. The Fort Sill, Oklahoma, resident is the son of former Batesville residents Tom and Kathleen Jeffers, Alexandria, Virginia,

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws - bv062714 - STEM - sara bauer Students learn valuable STEM skills Two area students attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point’s Middle School STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Workshop June 2-5.Alexandra Cottingham, Batesville, daughter of Rebecca Krieger Cottingham and Michael Cottingham,

    June 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • nws - bv062014 - Eckstein family Cancer hits home for local family Cancer survivors and those who have lost their fight with the disease will be honored during the June 21-22 Ripley County Relay for Life. One local individual who will be remembered is Mark Eckstein, Batesville, who worked for the Batesville Water an

    June 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws - bv061314 - Wilson, Alex Wilson explores CIA and Ukraine Next month in Chicago, Alex Wilson will start working as an investment banking analyst at Bank of Montreal (BMO), doing financial analysis and modeling for a group within the Capital Markets division. The 2010 Batesville High School graduate just ear

    June 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws - bv060614 - Betts in Scotland Student helps mastermind museum exhibit Tomorrow Alex Betts, a 2009 Batesville High School graduate, will be standing at a museum door in England, welcoming his family (parents Bill and George Ann Betts and brothers Jairus, 19, and Arno, 14) to an exhibit he helped create. "Diving into Dur

    June 6, 2014 3 Photos

  • nws - bv051614 - McDonough speaking Detective recalls working with Princess Diana BROOKVILLE - Rich McDonough has had an exciting career as a private detective, working for various celebrities and political figures. He told the story about one of his most memorable clients, the late Princess Diana of Wales, on April 16 as part of

    May 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws - bv050214 - Kreinhop, Bertha with book Cancer battle recounted in book

    May 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws - bv041814 - Harley, Bill (entertaining) Students sing along with Harley

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo