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Japanese Students from ELC Participate in Virginia Wesleyan's International Education Week

Japanese students from Old Dominion's English Language Center (ELC) traveled across town recently to take part in Virginia Wesleyan College's International Education Week.

Lena Johnson, director of VWC's Office of International and Intercultural Programs, invited the students to give a series of demonstrations on "How to Wear a Kimono" and "Shodo" (the Japanese art of calligraphy) on Friday, Nov. 22.

Alex Harris Jr., ELC interim assistant director of special programs, sweetened the deal. "I wanted to show other aspects of Japanese culture, so I invited five study abroad students from Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan, currently studying at the ELC to participate. We added topics on sushi, Japanese convenience stores and Aikido."

Harris said the students worked for a few weeks to research, prepare and practice for their presentation.

"With the help of Professor Kiyomi Okamoto, a visiting scholar from the University of Kitakyushu, the students were able to receive two sets of advice on polishing their presentation. The students also received some assistance from Professor Minori Marken in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. She so graciously loaned the students some traditional Japanese clothing and a genuine Japanese calligraphy set to assist in their presentation at VWC," Harris said.

Japanese students from the ELC who participated included Maho Maesaka, Misa Nonaka, Mayu Takemura, Rumi Sato and Takuto Kimura (see photo below). The students were surprised at how much the students at VWC already knew about Japan.

VWC sophomore Isis Purcell described the program as "educational and fun."

Johnson reported that the program was more than she could have hoped for. "The students were poised and informative," she said.

"I knew this would be a great opportunity for our young people, so I didn't hesitate to accept this invitation," Harris said. "The students worked really hard to prepare for their presentation and I was real proud of the job they did. Our participation was good for both ODU and the ELC. I would like to continue these sorts of visits to help the people of Hampton Roads learn about international cultures and to shine a light on ODU's vision on internationalization."

So far this year, students from the English Language Center have visited a number of elementary and high schools in the area to share their culture and spread the word about the great things going on at ODU and the ELC, Harris said.

morenews3-lg01From left: Maho Maesaka, Misa Nonaka, Mayu Takemura, Takuto Kimura (all from Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka) and Rumi Sato (from Nanzan University in Nagoya).

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