UNG Students Study in Japan – WGAU

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Students at North Georgia University and Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan are gaining more and more language and cultural learning through a study abroad exchange. With COVID-19 restrictions lifted, each university has welcomed several students to their campuses for the 2022-23 academic year.

Eleven UNG students spend at least one semester in Nanzan between fall and spring, three of whom are expected to study for a full academic year in Nagoya. Three Nanzan students are at UNG for both semesters.

The schools had previously engaged in numerous Collaborative International Online Learning (COIL) activities and three summer study abroad opportunities in Nanzan, as well as a two-week spring 2019 visit from Nanzan students at UNG. Cadet Daniel Shearer in the spring of 2020 became the first UNG student to travel to Nanzan for one semester before having to return early due to the onset of the pandemic.

After an increased volume of COIL experiences and a virtual exchange for UNG student Kirsten Howard in 2021-22, Dr. Tomoe Nishio, associate professor of Japanese at UNG, is grateful that the travels allow the partnership with Nanzan to grow flourish even more.

“We do our best to give our students cultural learning experiences locally at UNG, but that’s nothing compared to what they can do in Japan immersed in the environment, speaking only Japanese. “, said Nishio. “It’s a good pressure to have to speak the language and learn to behave in the Japanese context.”

This was the case for Alexander Howell, a UNG junior from Loganville, Georgia, who is pursuing a degree in East Asian studies with a concentration in Japanese.

“I’ve gotten to the point where I can think in Japanese instead of English and then speak in Japanese,” Howell said. “It helps with fluidity.”

Mekayla Fedrick, a senior at UNG from Augusta, Georgia, who is pursuing East Asian studies with a concentration in Japanese, said Nanzan’s faculty reminded her that language learning is a gradual process.

She also benefited from staying in a foster home.

“They help me feel more comfortable,” Fedrick said. “I don’t feel out of place.”

Meanwhile, Danielle Kent, a senior at UNG from Gray, Georgia, pursuing a degree in international affairs, said Nanzan students had a “unique openness and understanding of other cultures” that made her feel welcome. They are also patient in helping him learn the language.

“Even though I studied Japanese for six years and took many classes dissecting elements of Japanese culture, language and politics, I still learn something new every day,” Kent said.

A Boren scholarship allows Kent to spend a full academic year, rather than a semester, in Japan.

Other UNG students staying at Nanzan include: Jordan Aethelric and Connor Glosson (full academic year), Kirstie Carson, Guadalupe Guzman, Alyssa Mulcahy, Christian Dover, Jacob Tighe and Susana Olivo Sandoval (spring semester). Glosson and Fedrick got scholarships from the Japan Student Services Organization. Carson won a Gilman scholarship, while Olivo Sandoval’s stay at Nanzan is supported by winning a Japanese speech contest, a Freeman-ASIA scholarship and a Center on International Education Exchange scholarship.

Mana Washino, a second-year Nanzan student from Gifu, Japan, who is pursuing a degree in international business, noticed similar behavior while studying at UNG this fall. His stay abroad offered him valuable preparation for his career.

“I want to learn more about global topics,” Washino said. “It’s a very good experience for me.”

Sayaka Morita and Minatsu Nishikazi are Nanzan’s other two students at UNG for 2022-23.

Nishio is especially grateful that the cultural and linguistic learning is so strong in both directions.

“It gives my students a great opportunity to communicate with Japanese students,” Nishio said. “They give UNG students a different perspective on the world. It is a mutual learning experience.

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