Students return to Japan after five-month Armidale ‘immersion’

Published 17 June 2010

Chubu FarewelA partnership between the University of New England and Chubu University in Japan has seen the seventh annual visit of Chubu students to Armidale for a five-month program of English language studies at UNE and linguistic and cultural immersion in the local community.

The 18 students are all in the second year of degree programs at Chubu University with a major English-language component. They arrived at UNE in February, and left at the end of last week after completing more than 300 hours of tuition at UNE’s English Language Centre and joining UNE undergraduates in a semester-long full academic unit of “Cross Cultural Communication Studies”.

During a farewell ceremony for them at UNE on Friday 11 June, Associate Professor Katsuko Matsubara, Assistant Director of Chubu University’s English Language and Literature Department, said that the students’ participation in an undergraduate course conducted in English was a unique feature of the program provided by UNE.

An important part of the students’ learning experience during the program is their time spent living in the homes of Armidale families, and Dr Matsubara said that their “homestay” experiences were among their most cherished memories of Armidale.

Mark Cooper, the Deputy Director of Studies at the English Language Centre, thanked all members of the “homestay” families (some of whom were present at the farewell function), as well as the Heads of the UNE residential colleges in which the students had gained on-campus living experience. He also thanked everyone else involved in the program – including the teachers, and the UNE students who had acted as “buddies” to the visitors.

Speaking on behalf of Chubu University, Dr Matsubara said: “We truly appreciate having this good relationship with UNE.” UNE’s Chief Development Officer, Mr Chris Patton, emphasised, in his turn, the importance to UNE of the relationship with Chubu University. As well as the annual visits of students for the English language program, the partnership includes various forms of staff and student exchange.

“I believe this experience will be good for our future,” said one of the departing students, after explaining how much they had all enjoyed their time in Armidale and at UNE.

THE PHOTOGRAPH displayed here expands to show (from left) Associate Professor Katsuko Matsubara, Chubu University students Akemi Hasegawa and Azusa Hasegawa, and Mr Mark Cooper.