A SCHOOL has been taking a look at the Far East to learn more about how cultures differ around the world.

St Mary's RC Primary School, in Whickham, Gateshead, is playing host to a Japanese student, who as well as having learnt a lot about the region's culture, has also been giving the school's pupils a taste of Japanese culture, language and life. Mihoko Numamae, 26, from Hokkaido, in northern Japan, is working in the primary school until July as part of an international exchange programme.

She is in England for nine months as part of the International Internship Programme, which enables students from Japan to experience a school setting in England, and also improve their understanding and use of the English language.

And while she has been at the school, Ms Numamae has been working with every class, teaching the school's 197 pupils aged four to eleven about life, language and culture in Japan and passing on some ancient traditional Japanese skills such as origami.

Headteacher Mary McMillan said: "Mihoko is really enjoying her stay in Gateshead and has settled in well.

"She loves the pupils at St Mary's, who have in turn responded really well to finding out more about her life, her language and the historic culture of Japan."