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Bonnichiwa 2024: Bridging Japan and France Through Cultural Exchange

'Ariqah Sarah
03 July 2024

Bonnichiwa 2024 is an innovative month-long project that fosters cross-cultural communication and friendship between Malaysian students in Japan and France. Organized by the Malaysian Students’ Association in Japan (MSAJ) and the Malaysian Students’ Association in France (MSAF), this program aims to bridge the gap between these two diverse cultures through a unique pen-pal system.

The name "Bonnichiwa" is a creative fusion of "Bonjour" (French for hello) and "Konnichiwa" (Japanese for hello). This blend symbolizes a warm and inviting greeting that sets the stage for enriching conversations and meaningful exchanges of knowledge and experiences.

This year, Bonnichiwa 2024 has attracted 41 enthusiastic participants from both Japan and France. The primary medium for communication is WhatsApp, where each Malaysian student from Japan is paired with a student in France. This direct and personal interaction allows for genuine connections and understanding to flourish.

To guide the interactions and ensure a rich exchange of cultural insights, Bonnichiwa 2024 provides a series of thoughtfully curated weekly themes. The first week is dedicated to ice-breaking activities, allowing participants to introduce themselves and establish a comfortable environment. Moving into the second and fourth weeks, the focus shifts to language exchange. During these weeks, participants teach and learn each other's languages, enhancing their communication skills and deepening their cultural appreciation. This exchange often involves sharing common phrases, discussing the nuances of language, and even exploring idiomatic expressions unique to each culture. The third week, themed "A Day in My Life," provides an intimate glimpse into the participants' daily routines. This theme allows participants to compare and contrast their daily experiences, from morning rituals and meals to educational or work-related activities and leisure time. 

This program exemplifies the power of cross-cultural communication and the importance of building bridges between different cultures. With hope, Bonnichiwa 2024 inspires ongoing mutual exchange of knowledge and friendship, transcending borders and enriching lives.

Last modified on 03 July 2024 2:23 PM

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