11 May 2016 at 9:00 am

Game On English changing the lives of Japanese rugby students

Kim Renner tells us how The ‘Game On English’ edu-sports programme for Japanese rugby students in New Zealand is gaining in popularity.

The ‘Game On English’ edu-sports programme for Japanese rugby students in New Zealand is gaining in popularity, says Kim Renner, Operations Manager of English New Zealand, the English language sector peak body.

“We’re very pleased with the programme’s early success,” says Kim.

Game On English provides Japanese rugby teams with a unique learning experience in New Zealand. Students receive daily English language classes and high-performance rugby training, and live with homestay families where they experience Kiwi life and culture and are immersed in an English-language speaking environment.“The programme isn’t just about playing sport,” says Kim. “It provides a life-changing experience for young people that builds self-confidence and leadership through teamwork.”

Kim says Japanese students are attracted to the programme because of the world champion All Blacks, and New Zealand’s commitment to developing skilled young Kiwi rugby players.

“New Zealand’s national high school and university competitions foster the growth of world-class rugby players as well as developing talented coaches. There is a fine tradition of students who have become great All Blacks.”

Game on English was developed in July 2014 by ENZ and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It was created in response to the Japanese Government’s goal of improving the English language skills, and increasing the sporting capacity, of Japan’s young people in the lead up to its hosting of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympics.

The programme now includes five New Zealand Rugby Union academies and selected English language providers in Auckland, Hamilton, Mount Maunganui, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Kim says Japanese public interest in rugby is growing thanks to the Brave Blossoms’ victory over the South Africans at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. 

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