As an Austrian-born American, Arnie knows what it’s like to step out of your comfort zone when learning English as a second-language. 

When you’re learning another language, nothing is more satisfying than being able to use that language to communicate with someone you wouldn’t otherwise be able to talk to in real-life.

It’s far more exciting than repeating boring drills from a textbook, and one English teacher in Japan who realised this decided to make an activity out of it, asking students to write to an overseas celebrity as a class assignment.

Twitter user @shiratuyu1114, who was a junior high school student at the time, decided to write to Austrian-American actor, producer, businessman, former bodybuilder, and ex-governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Not all celebrities reply to their fans, but Schwarzenegger ended up surprising this young Japanese student by having his team send a letter, along with a signed photograph. Needless to say, @shiratuyu1114 was over the moon to receive a reply from the 73-year-old star, sharing the below photo of what they received in the post, saying:

“When I was in junior high school, I handed in a letter for a “Send a letter to an overseas celebrity” English class task and I got a reply.”

As the above image shows, Schwarzenegger may not have the time to personally respond to his own fan mail, but the fact that his production staff wrote back to the student shows the star has made replying to letters a top priority for his team.

Replying to mountains of letters is no easy task, though, and the length of time it took for the reply to make its way to the sender suggests Schwarzenegger receives a tonne of fan mail, as the now 17-year-old student received the reply on 22 April.

▼ No matter how long it takes, he’ll write back.

People in Japan had nothing but praise for Arnie and the reply sent to the young student, giving the tweet over 229,000 likes and more than 34,000 retweets, along with comments like:

“Wow, I’m so jealous! You got a reply from the Terminator!”
“What a heartwarming story!”
“When I sent a letter to Coldplay for a similar assignment, a signed reply arrived a few months later and I cried in front of all my classmates.”
“I had the same assignment at my alma mater — I wrote to Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe and I was so happy when I received a reply. I keep it in a special file and cherish it.”
“It’s nice to see well-known Hollywood stars run offices that are so fan-friendly.”
“English education in Japan can be boring so it’s good to raise students’ motivation with activities like this!”

This English lesson activity certainly left a lasting impression on @shiratuyu1114, who went on to say:

“To the teacher who was in charge of the English Department — thank you very much for your class at that time. I was able to receive a treasured item and have a really wonderful experience.”

Awwwww. What a heartwarming series of events! It just goes to show that treasuring your fans will result in them treasuring you in return, and Schwarzenegger has now made a few thousand lifelong fans in Japan. He’s also shown people that taking a step out of your comfort zone to communicate in a second language can be incredibly rewarding, which is something the Austrian-born American would have personal experience with as a non-native English speaker himself.

And kudos to the teacher for encouraging their students to communicate with an overseas star. Teaching isn’t just all about grades and textbooks — it’s about nurturing your student’s skills in a way that appeals to them, like this teacher did when reminding a young pupil to never give up on their dreams.

Source: Twitter/@shiratuyu1114 via Jin
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Insert image: Twitter/@shiratuyu1114
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