1/18/2012 5:10:00 PM Crossing a great ocean to help build better watersheds
Photo courtesy of Nikita Guarav
Jesuit juniors Nikita Gaurav and Jana Rott with a watershed study group in Japan this past summer.
Two Jesuit juniors, Nikita Gaurav and Jana Rott, recently teamed up with 28 students from other schools across the United States to travel to Japan to work on the Japanese-American Watershed Stewardship (JAWS) project.
Japanese teacher Sensei Manami Imaoka recommended the program to students in her classes last winter. Gaurav and Rott took her offer up and began the long application process. After months of waiting, they were selected to spend three weeks in Japan.
“The JAWS program was an incredible opportunity for me because it not only captured my interest, but also incorporated my knowledge of Japanese and passion for the environment,” said Guarav.
Besides learning about the environment, the students also experienced Japanese culture.
“We did many activities including going on a cruise around Tokyo Bay and visiting temples and museums,” said Rott.
Gaurav was also really impacted by the Japanese values and morals.
“Everywhere we turned we encountered random acts of kindness. People walked up to us attempting to practice their English skills, business owners offered us free food and gifts,” said Gaurav.
Jennifer Cournia also went to Japan on a similar program called Fulbright’s Japan-U.S. Teacher Exchange Program for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD); 48 teachers from Japan traveled to the US and 48 teachers from the US traveled to Japan to learn about ESD.
“I got to visit schools, participate in classes and more than anything see how the Japanese incorporate sustainability and environmental awareness into their lessons,” said Cournia.
Cournia was moved by Japan’s speedy recovery after the earthquake.
“One Japanese teacher in the program’s home was destroyed by the earthquake and hearing of her resilience to the difficult situation and the Japanese’s resilience to the whole experience was inspiring,” said Cournia.
Gaurav and Rott will be hosting a brown bag lunch seminar on their experience in Japan.
The writer is a junior at Jesuit High School.
Jesuit High School 9000 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy. Portland, OR 97225 (503) 292-2663 www.jesuitportland.org Grades: 9-12 Enrollment: 1,240 Tuition: $11,100 Applications Due: Jan. 13 Transfer applications are accepted on a rolling basis after Feb. 1, 2012 Open house: Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012 (1 p.m.-4 p.m.)