dollorVisiting Japanese students overcome disaster back home

Visiting Japanese students overcome disaster back home

By Kellie Edson

During the month of March 2011, the College of Continuing Education (CCE) hosted twelve students from the University of Shizuoka in Japan. Soon after starting their coursework in American Language and Culture (ALC), tragedy struck back home. After learning of the devastating effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the students bravely continued their studies with the support of program staff and volunteers.

CCE staff, student volunteers and host families came together to help these visiting students during the crisis. "My host mom offered to have my parents come from Japan to stay with them here in America," Kanae Ued said.

Campus representatives were also a significant source of support. Sacramento State's Japan Club participated in several activities with the Shizuoka group, such as playing board games in Napa Hall and arranging a scavenger hunt on campus. The students also visited Prof. Kazue Masuyama's upper-division Japanese class on campus, and shared language and culture tips with students there. "Japan Club students were very eager to get to know Japanese students from Japan and I believe that this was a wonderful learning opportunity for both parties," said Prof. Masuyama.

This was the second time CCE hosted students from the University of Shizuoka. The group took part in English language training and immersion in American culture as part of the ALC program. Their language curriculum consisted of speaking, listening, reading and grammar. They also made several field trips to local attractions. Some of the students' favorite activities included visiting the museums in Coloma, cheering for the Kings and seeing art at the Crocker.

Many of the students expressed mixed feelings on going home, saying they were both happy and sad. But even through the terrible aftermath of the earthquake, the students still managed to make many lasting memories while visiting Sacramento. One student said she'll miss her host family's Shih Tzu dog, Hercules, the most. Another will miss the shopping they enjoyed while visiting, especially at Target and the Arden Fair Mall.

The Shizuoka students' month at CCE was filled with fun, learning, and most of all support. Their farewell luncheon included a lovely slideshow detailing pictures of the students' various trips and activities, a certificate presentation and nostalgic conversation as they prepared to depart for Japan the following morning. See the slideshow above.

Their teacher, David Polster, addressed the students at their goodbye luncheon. "I want to commend you all, not only for your willingness to learn, but for your excellent coping skills during such a difficult time," he said. "You are all truly exemplary students of Japan."

Everyone here at CCE wishes them continued success and strength for the journey back home, and we feel privileged to have hosted them at our college.