Left: NSC students visit Kogakuin University. Right: Kogakuin University students visit NSC
Kogakuin University may be 4,779 miles from North Seattle College (NSC), but the relationship formed by these academic institutions makes the two feel right next door to each other.
Kogakuin is a private university located in Tokyo, Japan, established in 1887 and serves approximately 6,530 students. “Kogakuin” means “Institute of Engineering” or “Institute of Technology”.
NSC and Kogakuin University entered into an academic agreement in 2014, with the objective of promoting both a friendly relationship and academic cooperation between the two institutions.
As part of the short-term program in International Programs at NSC, 40 students from Kogakuin University visited NSC June 5 – Aug. 8, 2017. The students stayed with host families around the Seattle area.
Around the same time, 10 students from NSC Japanese class 123 visited Kogakuin University from June 18 to July 1. The students stayed in traditional Japanese-style rooms with Tatami mats and futon sets, through Kogakuin University campus housing. Five to six Kogakuin students stayed in the housing each day with the NSC students to give them a true local experience. NSC students took Japanese class in the mornings and spent the remainder of the day taking in the sights and sounds of the city.
Students from both colleges shared their experiences on the partnership.
NSC students share their experience:
What did you like most about this experience: “I liked that I got to make new friends with both people who went on the trip as well as Japanese host students. It was a great chance to socialize, learn about myself, others, and Japanese culture,” said Vy Lam.
“I liked the realness of the living situation. Campus living in a dorm tatami room took some getting used to, but after a few days I made lots of friends and the floor was surprisingly comfortable,” said Mark Hughes.
What is your favorite memory with one of your Japanese friends? “Stay up late nights talking to my friend Shiro, speaking in both Japanese and English teaching each other,” said Anthony Smith.
“My favorite memory is visiting the many temples in Japan. Learning the history from the perspective of the culture at hand,” said Christopher Pikel.
What advice would you give to a future student in this program visiting Tokyo? “To fully utilize your free time and to make a real effort to connect and get to know both the Japanese students you’ll be with, and your fellow study abroad students,” said Raina Hoy.
“Be open minded while studying abroad. Don’t be afraid to any new things,” said Lyndsey Ferguson Doyle.
Kogakuin University students share their experience at NSC:
What did you like most about the program at NSC? “The interaction with NSC students who take Japanese classes. I could see how American students see Japan and Japanese people,” said Aina Otsuka.
“English class- we played lots of games in our class, which was fun and helped me learn English. I learned not only English but also American culture, lifestyle and manners,” said Atsuki Oya.
What is your favorite memory with your host family? “I learned how to communicate and work together. Everyone was preparing for Independence Day, but I didn’t know what to do first. I saw other students at homestay were helping the family so I decided to be a part of it. It turned out to be a wonderful family party. If I just sat down and watched, I couldn’t enjoy the holiday as much. It was a great feeling to know that I was part of the family,” said Toshiki Okamoto.
What advice would you give to future students in this program visiting Seattle? Kaigo Tahara replied, “even if you don’t speak English, don’t be afraid! If you say nothing, people will never understand what you want or how you feel, so speak up.”