University of Kochi-Elms group

Nursing and Cultural Studies students from the University of Kochi gather at the Maguire Center at Elms with their Friendship Partners, Elms students who will guide them during their 12-day visit.

University of Kochi-Elms Exchange Enters 14th Year

Students from the University of Kochi arrive on campus Tuesday, Feb. 25, as part of a longtime exchange program between Elms College and the university in Japan.

For the next 12 days, through March 8, Elms will host seven Japanese students led by University of Kochi Professor of Cultural Studies Takahiro Ioroi, Ph.D.

This is the 14th consecutive year for the exchange, which is seen as beneficial to both Elms and Kochi students.

The students, all Nursing and Cultural Studies majors, will visit Baystate Medical Center, New North Citizens Council and Bowe Elementary School to gain a more in-depth understanding of American society and its educational and health care systems.

The Kochi students will be staying in residence halls at Elms, attending English classes, taking part in classes related to their majors, and exploring western Massachusetts sites, attractions and cuisine.

Nearly 40 Elms students serve as Friendship Partners for the Japanese students during the 12-day visit. These “Friendship Partners” - some male, some female, some on-campus residents, some commuters – participate in a three-hour training course to act as roommates, classmates and partners in the scheduled language and cultural activities.

This year, the program will concentrate on providing the Japanese students with a focus on their chosen majors through visits to a local hospital, an elementary school and a social services organization.

“This will give the visiting Japanese students the opportunity to develop a global perspective on their academic disciplines,” said Joyce Hampton, Ed.D., Associate Academic Dean for Student Success and associate professor of the English Language Learners program. “It really opens up the world to our college students and helps them develop a global perspective, as many have not had the opportunity to travel abroad themselves.”

Hampton is coordinating the visit with Tami Brunelle, Coordinator of International Programs.