As the buses pulled up alongside the Hatfield Fountain at lunchtime today, students, faculty members and staff cheered, clapped and waved signs bearing friendly greetings in English and Japanese. The tired but excited Tokyo International University (TIU) students emerged, blinking at the bright sunshine and the warm welcome.
This year, 117 TIU students from Japan, China, Thailand, Peru, South Korea and Taiwan are enrolled in the American Studies Program (ASP) run by Willamette and TIUA.
During their year as international students at Willamette, the ASP students will take courses to improve their language skills and to learn about American history, politics, society and culture. They’ll also take regular CLA courses. They’ll live, study, dine and socialize alongside other Willamette students, as well as volunteer in the Salem community and explore Oregon and other parts of the U.S.
Today’s welcome, along with this evening’s opening program and dinner at Goudy, are just the first opportunities for the campus community to help the ASP students feel at home and make the most of their time in the U.S.
TIUA also organizes the Tomodachi (Friendship) Program, in which Willamette community members get together informally with ASP students about once a month -- for either a semester or the entire year -- for everyday activities, holidays or special events. Typically, community members report they enjoy and gain as much as ASP students do from these opportunities for cultural exchange and understanding. To learn more about the Tomodachi Program, contact Barby Dressler.