Fukuoka students to visit Washburn

Maria Sigala

Friday, Feb. 18, 21 students will arrive from Fukuoka University to take English courses and shadow courses related to their major.

Since 1980, the Washburn International Program has partnered with Fukuoka University to bring students for three weeks.  The program has been working with accommodations in

Residential Living at Washburn and matching students to host students from Japan.

“The reason international students come here is to get more knowledge and have a cutting edge,” said Heidi Staerkel, International Programs coordinator.

On Feb. 20, International Programs will host a welcome dinner at the University United Methodist Church, across the street from Morgan Hall. It will be open to anyone free of cost.  During the welcome dinner, Fukuoka students will give an orientation about their culture.

“They will do demonstrations on Judo or Karate, we have host families get really excited,” said Staerkel.

The International Program also works with the Topeka Friendship Network (TFN) which matches families in the community with international students, which helps them get more exposure to the American culture. The students spend a weekend with a matching family.

“I think that one of the saddest things is for students to come to the United States and not get exposure,” said Staerkel.

During the three weeks, students attend English classes from 9 a.m. to noon and then they attend their special classes where students have guest speakers along with other things.

At the end of the program, students get an evaluation form where they are asked to rank everything about the program.

“There have been times where students say they don’t like something but it just helps us because we can make adjustments to the program,” said Staerkel.

Because it is an academic program where students earn three credit hours in three weeks Staerkel said that there has to be a schedule for the students but at the end of the program they are given free days.

“Students get to go to Oklahoma City and then to Dallas, which both are really good additions to the program,” said Staerkel.

Some of the International Program’s faculty and Fukuoka students ride a bus and have a tour guide that deals with the accommodations and all the planning of the trip.

“One of the favorite parts for the girls is all the shopping they get to do,” said Staerkel.  

At the end of the trip students will depart from Dallas, Texas back to Fukuoka, Japan.