High-achieving Western Australian science students have buddied up with their Japanese counterparts as part of a ground-breaking program organised by The University of Western Australia.
Ten Japanese students from Hyogo Prefectural Sanda Shounkan High School - registered as a Super Science High School by the Ministry of Education in Japan - were paired with students from Perth Modern School during a recent two-week study trip to Western Australia.
The buddy arrangement was part of a unique learning exchange program hosted by UWA's Centre for English Language Teaching (CELT).
The first initiative of its kind, the program aims to connect high-achieving science students through English language learning, with a focus on energy, resources and astronomy.
During their time in WA, the Japanese students completed an English program at CELT and took part in interactive activities organised by UWA's Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Maths and Faculty of Science. Student groups, including the Society of Petroleum Engineers, Mining Society Student Chapter, and the Chemical and Process Engineering Club, also hosted hands-on activities such as gold-panning, oil spill clean-up and chemical plant design.
The high school students toured the Faculty's energy, gas, petroleum and oil research facilities and met PhD researchers. Highlights included demonstrations of Civil Engineering's wind tunnel and Electrical Engineering's award-winning racing car.
To complete their experience of WA's resources sector, students also visited the Alcoa Pinjarra Alumina Refinery and Huntly Bauxite Mine.
Naoki Miyashita, Manager of the Super Science High School programme at Hyogo Prefectural Sanda Shounkan High School, said the exchange program was a great way of establishing relationships between future engineers from Hyogo and Western Australia.
"This study tour is a fantastic opportunity to expose our students to a range of experiences related to the resources and energy sectors in Western Australia and beyond," Mr Miyashita said. "It encourages high-quality students from both Hyogo and Western Australia to participate in a wider international scientific community and consider study and research options abroad."
The students returned last week to Japan, where they will continue to study and research a project they began in WA, and work with the WA students.
The study tour is expected to become an annual event and will form the basis of an ongoing collaboration between the Japanese school's Super Science High School programme and educational institutions in WA.