New visiting Japanese students enjoy their first-week experience at WU

Host Family Weekend: Some visiting Japanese students from Fukuoka University visit their host family during the weekend and made s’mores.

Fangfei Lu

The Fukuoka University and Chiba University of Commerce students arrived at Washburn on Saturday, Feb. 13 for a three-week study program at Washburn. The office of International Program had prepared the schedule of events to welcome them.

“I have been organizing the schedule for the Fukuoka University study program since 1999, and I always enjoyed their visit,” said Heidi Staerkel, coordinator for Washburn’s International Student Services. “It’s amazing to see in three weeks how much the students’ English improved and how much more comfortable they feel. Even though it’s not a long program I think they can still get a lot of benefit from it.”

On Monday, Feb. 15 the International Club hosted a social time for all Fukuoka and Chiba students at the International House. At the social time, students interacted with WU International Club members, presidential ambassadors and other members of the Washburn and Topeka communities.

“This is my first time come to America. I hope I can meet many friends here to experience American cultural and improve my English. I would like to speak English as much as I can,” said Natsuki Takai, an English major from Fukuoka University.

During the three weeks, the visiting Japanese students will have instruction in english language and American culture on the daily schedule. They also get the chance to experience academic lectures from different professors every week at the International House.

“We informed all of the professor said they are coming and some professors make a special invitation for to come to the classes,” said Staerkel.

Outside of campus, the students had a chance to visit a local elementary school, tour Topeka, attend a local church service and participate in Host Family Weekend. Each Japanese visiting student was matched his or her host family from Topeka.

“I had a wonderful week at Washburn and spent time in my host family’s house during the weekend. They are so interesting about Japanese culture. We had lots of fun,” said Yuki Mizuno, an English major from Fukuoka University.