Experiencing education internationally

Students interacting in a UWL Japanese class.Japanese education majors from the University of Teacher Education Fukuoka attend a UWL Japanese class in Wing Technology Center.

University students from Japan visit UWL, local schools to share culture, learn

Japanese education majors from the University of Teacher Education Fukuoka (UTEF) are learning about American education and culture during a three-week program, hosted by UW-La Crosse’s English as a Second Language Institute.

Their visit, Feb. 27-March 21, has offered many opportunities for UWL and Japanese students to interact. UWL students who volunteered as “buddies” met with the Japanese students and showed them around the university and city. A panel discussion during UWL’s monthly “Coffee Hour” attracted more than 60 people from the university and community. During the hour, students from both the U.S. and Japan presented about their countries, cities and universities. The panel discussion, held in conjunction with UWL’s Education Department, was followed with a Q & A session and lively discussion.

A panel discussion with UW-L and UTEF Education students at Centennial Hall.

Japanese students also shared their culture with area children at UWL’s Campus Child Center and several area schools through activities including Japanese origami, calligraphy and dance. At the schools — North Woods International School, Logan Middle School and Emerson Elementary School — they also observed and learned about the U.S. educational system.

Throughout their stay, the Japanese students also studied “survival English” and were introduced to area sites and current events, including The Children’s Museum of La Crosse, Rose Convent, The Pump House, The Weber Center for the Performing Arts for the production of “Xanadu,” and Grandad Bluff.

UWL “buddies” with the Japanese students at a welcome party where the students interacted and did a Japanese traditional dance together.

The visitors stayed with homestay families in the La Crosse area, a component that has been well-received by the community and was a highlight for the Japanese students, says Michelle Tyvoll, director of UWL’s English as a Second Language Institute.

Taiki Kudoh, a graduate student form UTEF and the group leader, enjoyed learning idioms from his host family such as “that hits the spot.” “When I ate breakfast, lunch and supper with my host family, I always said ‘that hits the spot,’” he says.

Japanese student Kazuki Yoshiya found the use of mailboxes in the U.S. to be different. Yoshiya’s host family had a post office box where they received mail instead of their own mailbox — something Yoshiya has not seen in Japan.

The Japanese students on a walking tour of the UWL campus.