Opihi College has played host to a group of Japanese pupils.
Students of Shigakukan Junior and Senior high school spent nearly a month in Temuka living with host families and attending classes.
It was the fifth time the college has hosted pupils from the Tokyo school.
In addition to an intensive English language course, they joined Opihi pupils in class and were matched with buddy students.
The visit also included excursions.
These included trips to Tekapo, Christchurch and Timaru as well as local visits to the Temuka saleyards and Temuka Primary School.
The students learned about New Zealand culture and the English language, but their visit also gave Opihi College pupils the opportunity to try out some of the Japanese language that they have been learning in class.
Co-ordinating teacher Eric Lindblom said he was impressed with the positive response and the knowledge of New Zealand pupils took away.
"Even if it was only basic conversation and simple katakana characters, it was exciting to actually communicate with students in Japanese.
"Although there were many tears shed upon their departure, the good news is that 10 of the hosting or "buddy" students from Temuka will meet up again with their new Shigakukan friends when they travel to Japan as part of their Japanese language study trip in October."
Mr Lindblom said saying goodbye to the group would be particularly difficult as they had created strong bonds with their host families and buddy students".
"A special thank you must be extended to all of the host families who welcomed these students into their homes."
- © Fairfax NZ News