The Association of International Schools in Asia (AISA) hosts various conferences to foster cooperation and unity amongst students from different countries and backgrounds.
AISA is an organization of various international schools including Korea International School (KIS), Senri Osaka International School (SOIS), Seoul International School (SIS), and Yokohama International School (YIS). These schools and others hold joint events that bring together students from different communities.
AISA sponsors athletic, musical, as well as leadership conferences that last three or four days. At the conferences students meet other students, some who are from their home countries and others that live elsewhere, and cooperate with them in choir concerts and in leadership meetings or compete against them in basketball or volleyball matches.
Students go to these conferences not only to participate in activities but also for exposure to new cultures. When students have to go to other countries to participate, AISA utilizes the “home-stay” system in which students stay at the homes of international counterparts who are responsible for not only providing homes and food but also with giving tours and entertainment over the course of the stay.
Home-stays usually bring along gifts that are traditional to their own cultures, like dried seaweed (kim) for Korean students or traditional Japanese rice cake (mochi) for Japanese students, to also give a taste of their own unique country and ethnicity to the hosts that do not travel.
From April 9 to April 13, the AISA varsity girls soccer conference was held in Yokohama, Japan while the varsity boys soccer conference took place in Seongnam, South Korea.
Mia Whiting, a 16-year-old participant, told JSR in an interview that “it was a great experience.”
Whiting, a student at YIS who is a player in her school’s varsity girls’ soccer team, added, “Not only did I have an awesome time playing a sport that I love against the best players from all over Asia, I also had the opportunity to host a great Korean student and learn about her culture, [which is] something I would never have done otherwise.”