Friday, August 29, 2014

UNO Welcomes Students From Doshisha University

Tomodachi means "friend" in Japanese.

For the next two weeks, the University of New Orleans Division of International Education Intensive Language Program (IELP) will host 26 students and one faculty member from the Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan through a special program named UNO-Doshisha Open Doors.

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"It is exciting because it's allowing us to expand the relationship we already have with Doshish and really engage our students in person-to-person cultural exchange," said Alea Cot, assistant vice president for international education and director of the division of international education at UNO. "We're looking forward to growing the cooperation with Doshisha as much as we can."

The UNO-Doshisha Open Doors program, which runs from Sept. 1-14, represents increased collaboration between UNO and Doshisha University, which has hosted the UNO-Japan: Study at Doshisha University Program summer study abroad program since 2009, Cot said. Established in 1875, Doshisha University is one of the most highly respected institutions of higher education in Japan, said Cot.

In 2011, UNO signed a partnership agreement with the Japanese University that enabled students from both universities to be spent a semester or academic year on one another's campuses.

"Now with the UNO-Doshisha Open Doors Program, Doshisha students who may not be ready to spend a semester at UNO because they need to improve their English language skills can learn American culture and language in true New Orleans style," said Cot, who is "excited" to meet the Japanese students and expand the collaboration between the two Universities. "They might come back for graduate study here. It is an exciting program here. It will be very fun and very fast. We'll have a jam-packed two weeks and then they're gone."

About 130 students from UNO have studied in Japan on our summer program at Doshisha University over a six-year time frame, said Cot. Five students have gone on a semester or yearlong exchange.

"Some students have gone twice. One got married and now lives there," she said. "I know there's been at least one or two marriages, a lot of friendships and everything else. They've sent students here for the semester too and their goal is to send even more," she said of new friends at Doshisha. "They've been happy with their experience here."

Participating students will receive daily language instruction on the UNO campus, Cot said. They will also enjoy enrichment lectures, such as informational sessions on jazz and a lecture on New Orleans culture by Professor Emeritus Bobby Dupont, and extracurricular activities, such as a weekend trip to the beach in Pensacola, Fla. and local visits to the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium and more. The students will also attend an "After Hours" concert at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and take a Honey Island Swamp Tour.

"They're going to take English classes in the morning, taught in our program," said Cot. "The first afternoon we're taking them to the French Quarter, showing them how to get there on the Elysian Fields (Number 55) bus."

Japanese students will also be paired with "Tomodachi" partners from the UNO community, Cot said. These volunteers, many of whom have studied in Japan, will become the Doshisha students' link to New Orleans and American culture, cuisine, lifestyle, traditions and other elements.

"We're hoping that in their free time the Americans will take them out, one on one or two on two, and show them around," said Cot. "They might do some language exchange, where they practice their English and Japanese. A few of these students have met each other already, they may want to or take them home for a home-cooked meal."

The Doshisha students will arrive Monday, Cot said. A welcome dinner is planned is planned for Tuesday, Sept. 2.


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