Students from Japan in Dublin to improve their English learn that the Irish take short baths and love potatoes.

According to Bord Fáilte 16,500 students annually choose to come to Ireland to learn English. A group of 34 Japanese students are in Ireland for a month to study English at the Language Centre of Ireland on Grafton Street. They are from the Immaculate Heart University at Kagoshima in southern Japan and are the third group on such a visit to Ireland.

Tom Conway from the Language Centre of Ireland says the parents of the students chose Ireland as a destination for their daughters because they perceive Ireland to be a country with Christian values and a restrained atmosphere.

Group leader Masao Mima says previously the school sent students to the USA but increasingly America has become less safe and more expensive.

Also they say Ireland is the place where the good English is spoken.

Teacher Joe Murphy says that his Japanese students have good levels of comprehension and written English, however it is difficult to get them to speak. Culturally speaking out is not considered polite in Japan. He has created a way to invite the students to speak by solving problems.

Students Naoimi Kaminagayoschi and Seiki Wakikawa have noticed some cultural differences between Japan and Ireland. In Ireland people spend a very short time taking a bath and the cuisine is very much potato based.

I love Irish food but they have much potato, too much.

Throughout their visit the students stay with Irish families. Mona McCrann believes these hosts are crucial and students learn a lot from participating in family life. 

Chisato Kibute is staying with the Brannick family who have previously hosted many foreign students. The Brannicks treat her as one of the family. Miriam Brannick enjoys having students in her home.

I do it because I think it's adventurous and it’s interesting for the children and I’m very interested in language and other countries and I think it’s a nice experience.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 16 March 1984. The reporter is Alisdair Jackson.