An educational visit

The students visiting UWL from Japan took part in a panel discussion during the monthly “Coffee Hour.”

Program welcomes the University of Teacher Education Fukuoka to campus

UWL hosted a group of Japanese education majors from the University of Teacher Education Fukuoka (UTEF). From Feb. 27-March 2, the program focused on education and culture, allowing the students to visit a variety of schools in the community to observe and learn about the U.S. educational system.


The program is interactive — Japanese students offer cross-cultural activities to the American students in the schools they visit. Japanese students enjoyed a 10-day homestay in La Crosse area homes. The arrangement was well-received by the community and was a highlight for the Japanese students. 

UTEF students Yua Mori, left, and Sayuri Harada interact with Logan Middle School’s “comfort” dog, Shadow.

Planned activities included a welcome party with UWL students who volunteered as “buddies” to meet with the Japanese students and show them around the university and city. In conjunction with the UWL Education Department, a panel discussion was held during the monthly “Coffee Hour,” where students from both countries presented PowerPoint presentations about their countries, cities and universities. The presentations were followed by a Q & A session and discussion. This event was attended by more than 120 people.


The program also allows an array of interaction between all students involved. UTEF students visited the UWL Child Center where they toured the facility and interacted with the children by doing Japanese origami and calligraphy. At North Woods International School, they taught children origami, calligraphy and a traditional Japanese dance. At Logan Middle School they were able to observe classes and have a typical American school lunch. At Emerson Elementary students were introduced to Japanese culture and traditions. And at 7 Rivers High School, the Japanese students observed and participated in a lesson taught the La Crosse students and had lunch with the American students and teachers.


Throughout their stay, the Japanese students studied “survival English” and were introduced to area sites and current events. Among their stops: the Children’s Museum of La Crosse, Rose Convent, Guadalupe Shrine, Pump House, Weber Center for the production of “Calendar Girls,” the Rivoli Theater, a scavenger hunt around downtown La Crosse, and Grandad Bluff.

The Japanese students with their UWL “buddies” on campus.

Two of the Japanese students, Hiromi Miyamoto and Yume Nishida, enjoyed learning idioms from their host family. “That hits the spot” and “hit the sack” were featured in their cross-cultural portfolio project highlighting things they learned while participating on the three-week program.


The students finished their trip with a tour of the Twin Cities and an afternoon shopping at Mall of America before boarding a plane to return home to Japan.