International lecture series begins

Sunshine Blue

The Brown Bag International Lecture is a way for Washburn University students, staff and the general public to become better educated about other cultures around the world, as professors research and visit foreign countries then share their findings and perspectives.

Attending these lectures can be a great way for students interested in studying abroad to decide which foreign location(s) would best suit their needs. The intimate atmosphere offers an opportunity to engage in one-on-one discussions with the speakers.

The International House features guest speakers two to three times a month. The presentations start at noon, and end at 1 p.m. Most lectures take place at the International House, but music and dance performances take place in the White Concert Hall.

Unfortunately, because of budget cuts, food and beverages are no longer served at these events. Those who attend are encouraged to bring their own lunch, if interested.

Baili Zhang, who organizes these lectures, estimates that on average each lecture brings 20 to 30 attendees many of which are regulars. He said that most participants are not Washburn students because of a lack of advertisement on campus. He used to circulate flyers, but with budget cuts and the overload of other advertisements floating around, he decided to eliminate the printouts. Another issue that makes advertisement difficult is that Zhang is only given access to staff e-mail addresses, leaving him unable to send lecture notices directly to students.

August 26, Alex Glashausser, who returned just a month ago from a year-long sabbatical in Japan, shared his experiences regarding the education systems in and around Tokyo. He focused his research on kindergarten, elementary and law school.

Glashausser said kindergarten in Japan is similar to day-care in the United States, with the exception that there is no academic curriculum. The children are extremely protected and nurtured, and just play all day.

Japanese children start elementary school in first grade, and are expected to be responsible for their actions and to be independent immediately. Their day starts with the trek to school, without parental supervision. This journey can easily take 20 minutes or more, depending on where they live, and can take them through dangerous neighborhoods and across busy, congested streets. These children also attend unsupervised field trips across the city.

Glashausser also worked in several law schools in Japan. The main goal in this education is to prepare the students for the bar exam. While only a small percentage of the students actually practice law when they graduate, it is important to the government that they pass the bar.

For more information on attending the Brown Bag International Lectures, go to, or stop by the International House and pick up a pamphlet.