Japanese language learning program offers summer in Japan


Terri-Lynn Frasher

School of education associate proffesor, Becky Gallemore (left), discusses the details of the spring trip to Japan with Kendall Kirby (from right), a senior elementry education major, Jenn Mock, a senior special education major, and Mary Black, a senior special education major on Wednesday, Nov. 5 in the Taylor Education building.

In summer 2015, Missouri Southern students will have the opportunity to travel to Japan through the Summer Intensive Japanese Language Learning Program in Kyoto, Japan. It is designed for students who want to concentrate on Japanese language study while experiencing life in Japan. The trip is from May 18 to June 15. Students must be registered at Southern and will receive Southern credit.

According to Dr. Sherman Hou, head of the foreign language department at Southern, this trip is for anyone who wants to take two Japanese courses at the 200 level or above. The cost for the program is budgeted at $3,200, excluding tuition, which may be covered by other financial assistance. Additional out-of-pocket expenses are hard to estimate, given fluctuation of the yen/dollar exchange rate and personal spending habits. Hou said students might want to budget up to $500 for personal use. There is a payment plan available which spans a few months.

Hou will lead the students through the international experience. The trip will benefit students, but he said it will be beneficial for him as well. He explained it will refresh his knowledge about the ever-changing Japanese culture. It will allow for a more effective instruction in the foreign languages.

“We will return to Missouri Southern enlightened and truly knowledgeable about another country and its people,” Hou said.

The three goals of the program are as follows:

1) to increase the self-confidence of the students in Japanese study so that they can go back to Japan to further their Japanese studies on their own with greater comfort and reduced anxiety; 2) to boost interest and increase enrollment in Japanese learning at Southern; 3) to further strengthen Southern’s relationship with host universities in Kyoto and Tokyo.

“Students will be able to develop their communicative competency in Japanese by practicing their language skills in an authentic language environment through activities with Japanese students,” Hou said. “Weekend excursions will help develop students’ cultural awareness by exposing them to Japanese culture, society, different ethnic groups, economies and geography.”

One of the main missions at Missouri Southern is intercultural competence. This is achieved through University planned events such as the themed semesters. Another way this can be achieved is through trips such as this one. Hou believes in the educational experience provided through traveling abroad.

“There is no doubt that having classes abroad will provide our students with an invaluable opportunity to improve their cultural awareness by seeing it with their own eyes in a way not possible in a traditional classroom setting,” Hou said. “It contributes significantly to students’ intellectual and personal growth. Students are often curious about what life is like in another country and especially a country that is so different from their own.”