Mason Students Selected to Participate in Japanese Study Tour

Posted: May 20, 2013 at 5:01 am, Last Updated: May 22, 2013 at 9:39 am

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By Amy Reagan

Representatives from the Japanese Embassy met with students who will tour Japan this month. Photo by Alexis Glenn

Representatives from the Japanese Embassy met with students who will tour Japan this month. Photo by Alexis Glenn

George Mason University has long been committed to developing initiatives that assist students in deepening their understanding of East Asia. Mason offers courses in three East Asian languages, hosts many dual degree programs with Asian universities and is preparing to open a campus in Korea.

Given Mason’s focus on this dynamic world region, the university was pleased and honored to be selected to participate in the KAKEHASHI Project Bridge for Tomorrow: Youth-Exchange Project with North America. This new initiative sponsored by the Japanese government provides a fully funded 10-day study tour in Japan for selected students.

The program aims to encourage a greater understanding between the youth of Japan and the United States and foster ongoing interest and engagement by providing firsthand experiences with the culture of both countries.

Mason’s Office of Global and International Strategies worked with Sufumi So, assistant professor of Japanese in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, to inform students about this unique opportunity, select 23 awardees from among more than 100 applicants and help students prepare for departure. Mason is the only university in the region selected to participate in this exchange.

Guests from the Japanese Embassy visited Mason on May 6 at a reception hosted by Mason Provost Peter Stearns to recognize the participants. Masato Otaka, minister for public affairs, and Noriko Watanabe, education counselor, congratulated the students and addressed the importance of educational exchange as a tool for international diplomacy.

The students depart for Japan on Monday, May 20. Jane Kirsch, core faculty and curriculum coordinator for the English Language Institute, and Amy Reagan, PhD student and co-instructor of the Global Crossings Living Learning Community, will accompany them. The recipients represent a diverse range of interests and are looking forward to learning about Japanese culture and engaging with Japanese youth. In addition to visiting several historical, cultural and industrial sites in Tokyo, the group will spend several days at Yokohama National University.

Write to Robin Herron at rherron@gmu.edu

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