LMU TO WELCOME 32 FROM KANTO INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL IN JAPAN
March 17, 2011 - Harrogate, Tennessee — In the hours after a 8.9 magnitude earthquake rocked Japan and triggered a catastrophic tsunami on March 11, hearts were heavy at Lincoln Memorial University (LMU). An uncertainty fell across the campus which is a temporary home to as many as 80 Japanese students from Kanto International Senior High School in Tokyo twice a year.
In fact, LMU was eagerly preparing for the next group’s arrival in just ten days’ time. Several departments within the University including the President’s office, University Advancement, the International Studies office and the J. Frank White Academy made pleas for updates through their various points of contact.
Finally, a message was received. “A short message to all. We just experienced a large earthquake off the east coast of Honshu, Japan. We at Kanto in Central Tokyo are all safe. There is not much damage, just trains that have stopped for the moment.”
In the days that followed communication picked up and the news from the school was encouraging. They had sustained little damage. A group of roughly 100 students and teachers had to stay overnight in the school the day the quake hit because of the stoppage in trains. Other than that, Kanto was spared, though news reports clearly show devastation in other parts of their country.
On Monday, March 14, final word came from the school that their trip to LMU would go on as scheduled. In an email, Kanto administrator Angela Hixson shared:
“I think I speak for most everyone at Kanto when I say that we consider ourselves lucky.
We have been having small tremors throughout the day since the major quake. Even though we are generally used to having these barely noticeable tremors, the consistency of having so many throughout the day and night sort of puts one a bit on edge despite the fact that there is no real impending danger.
The positive side of all of this is that, as it seems to be winding down, the focus seems to switching to the positive such as providing aid to those who were devastated by the tsunami. There is a bond being formed. When you hear such a powerful voice from the student body, it makes you feel proud to be a part of shaping that voice.
Additionally, this upcoming trip has given the LMU group another positive focus to keep their minds off those small tremors.”
Thirty students and two teachers will arrive, first in Atlanta and then travel by bus to LMU’s main campus in Harrogate, Tenn., on Monday, March 21. The group is expected to arrive on campus around 10 p.m. They will get settled into the residence halls and begin their program on Tuesday, March 22. The group will return to Japan on May 7.
“LMU is eager to welcome our newest class from Kanto International High School. We feel blessed that they are safe and that we can provide them a home and diversion from their country’s suffering for a period of time,” LMU President B. James Dawson said. “Our partnership has blossomed to bear much fruit over its history. We are mindful of the suffering that continues in Japan and our hearts remain heavy as there are still souls to be found, including some American and Japanese alumni of LMU.”
Students have come annually to LMU from the Kanto International Senior High School since the LMU-Kanto Program began in 1979. For six weeks, a group of 30-70 students from the Japanese school reside on the LMU campus, where they engage in rigorous, immersive English studies and an extracurricular cultural program that exposes them to the richness of the culture of the Appalachian region. In addition, the group will take a three-day excursion to Washington, D.C. The students also make home stays with host families.
While gaining an appreciation of college life and forging lasting friendships, students also improve their English skills and experience life in America first-hand. However, the benefits are reciprocal: the entire LMU community is enriched by the presence of these Japanese students who teach about their own customs and traditions. The group will visit schools including Bell County (Ky.) High School and Hancock Central Schools.
The mission of the LMU-Kanto Program is to provide excellence in a non-traditional study abroad program. This program seeks to prepare students for mature global citizenship as well as a successful post-secondary experience. The LMU-Kanto Program also provides a caring and nurturing environment which gives its participants the opportunity to grow and succeed as they experience the challenges of direct involvement a new culture.
Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423-869-6280 or e-mail at email@example.com.
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