The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

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Simpson welcomes students from Japan

Josephine Brockman
The Japanese foreign exchange students pose for a picture in the writing center.

Four Japanese students are visiting Simpson from Yamanashi Prefectural University (YPU). Though they will not be taking any credits for the month they are spending in the States, they will be working on increasing their fluency in English.

So why choose America, and why choose Simpson?

“I found the American program before coming to America, so I decided to go to America,” said Haruka Kobayashi, one of the Japanese nursing students. 

Others were more interested in learning about the state and the culture.

“In my case, my aim is not mainly studying English, because in last year Simpson students came to Japan, and I participated in that program,” Hina Ashizawa, who studies international studies, said. 

Yamanashi and Iowa are sister states. Kofu, where their university is, is a sister city to Des Moines. Ashizawa was involved with some of the work they did at YPU during the May term when Simpson students visited. 

However, it is important to note it’s less like a May term for the Japanese students and more like a vacation because they do not earn credit. This is a trip solely for the experience.

“Also about sister state history, the relationships, the activities, and the development of sister state exchange,” Ashizawa said. 

The students said they have several different plans for their stay here. 

“Our teacher, Kiyo, prepared for us a lot of opportunities to learn American culture or lifestyle,” said Miki Nakao, who is also studying international studies. “So we can feel a lot of differences between how to spend a life in Yamanashi Japan and here.” 

Kiyo Matsuyama is an adjunct instructor at Simpson College. 

Some of their plans, in their effort to learn American culture, include sitting in on different classes. 

Ashizawa said she has already experienced something exciting, which might not be what you’d expect. 

“In my case, the class in America is the most impressive for me because, in a Japanese class, our students don’t often raise our hands and say something positively, but American student can tell their opinion positively very much,” she said. “So, I feel [that is] the biggest difference between Japanese student and American student in class.”

Other than sitting in on classes, they plan on going to different sporting events and campus activities. Some other things on their agenda include visiting Galena, Illinois, which is a small town on the border of Iowa, and watching a Drake University basketball game. 

Although they are over 6,000 miles away from home, and they do miss their families, they say they aren’t homesick yet. 

“I love the view of this campus because a lot of trees and beautiful buildings. So I feel happy when I walk in the college,”  Kobayashi said. 

Ashizawa chimed in and said, “I love a lot of decoration in the campus because it reflects student preference or individuality. It’s interesting for me. Japanese school is not decorated.”

Their teacher, Kiyo, who is less like a teacher and more like a host father, made dinner for them the other night, which made them feel at home.

One of the biggest adjustments for them has been living in the apartments on campus. 

While Miki says she lives in an apartment back in Japan, most of the girls still live with their families and have their own rooms. So, adjusting to sharing an apartment and a room has not been the easiest. 

“In my case, I feel a little bit it’s hard to share one room with somebody because I don’t get as much privacy,” Ashizawa said.

If you are interested in learning basic Japanese words or meeting these students, they will be holding Japanese conversation sessions from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 26, 5 to 6 p.m. on Feb. 29 and 4 to 5 p.m. on March 4.

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Josephine Brockman
Josephine Brockman, Staff Reporter

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