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My 125 Moment – Chikae Sato

Chikae Sato

University Student


WH 2013

I recently sent a letter to Mrs Ellis, the former Director of International Students, to tell her about an amazing moment I had at a local McDonalds restaurant in my home country of Japan.

I had a job interview near Shinjyuku Station one day; Shinjyuku is a ward located in the city of Toyko. I arrived early for the interview and decided to go to a McDonalds to have a cup of tea while I waited. The restaurant was very crowded, so I sat at a counter seat between a woman and a man and took out my CV to review. I was looking back over my life, and started to write down some of my memories of Woodford House in order to prepare for the interview. I was listening to music on my phone and concentrating on my writing when suddenly the person next to me spoke. The woman said, “Did you go to Woodford House in New Zealand?”

I was really surprised that the person knew about Woodford House! What surprised me even more was that she told me, “I also went there a few years ago.” The woman’s name was Narumi and she was the first Japanese international student to attend Woodford House in 2012. I actually recognised her name as she had kindly left an encouraging letter at Woodford House for me and Mayumi, another Japanese international student, when she finished school. Narumi and I shared a lot of memories of our time at Woodford House, including the amazing care Mrs Ellis gave each of us. I also showed her many of my photos from my time in New Zealand.

Living at Woodford House was a special time for me, as it also was for Narumi. It was such an amazing coincidence to sit down next to Narumi by chance that day, especially as there are thousands of McDonalds in Japan! I am still surprised it happened. Narumi and I have since connected on social media and we can now keep in touch on a regular basis.


In 2019, Woodford House will celebrate its 125th anniversary as a leading school for girls. In the lead up to this significant milestone, we are sharing 125 Moments or Memories about Woodford House from a range of perspectives including Old Girls, Parents, Current Students, Staff and Board Members. We invite you to share your special moment here