Temple University, Japan Campus (TUJ) is a good neighbor. Since concluding the agreement on joint activities with Minato City in 2006, TUJ has launched a range of initiatives to contribute to the local community.

TUJ is home to students, staff and faculty from sixty countries. It is this diversity that is responsible for a wide variety of unique and international activities. Those activities attract people from other regions not just to observe, but to participate, thereby growing the circle of community and developing the activities further.

“Study Abroad in Japan” program for elementary and middle school students

In partnership with Minato City, TUJ has offered short-term summer English programs for middle school students (since 2006) and elementary school students (since 2008). Fifth and sixth graders and second and third year middle school students from Minato City could learn English in an intensive, English-only setting. In 2009, the program started to accept students from other areas as well. As of last year (2014), 637 students had participated. This year’s class was made up of 74 elementary schoolers and 137 middle schoolers, making it our biggest attendance on record. (The summer program has been expanded to offer a greater variety of courses to accommodate students at all levels of English proficiency.)

Photo: (from left) Shoki Ohishi, Miu Suzuki, Asuka Sumiyoshi, and Ai Yamaki—second year middle school students from Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture
(from left) Shoki Ohishi, Miu Suzuki, Asuka Sumiyoshi, and Ai Yamaki—second year middle school students from Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture

This year, eight students from Onagawa Kogakukan in Miyagi Prefecture participated. “They learned anew the pleasures of English, and seeing children of their same generation speaking English fluently seemed to be a major eye-opener for them,” said Hiroko Kawai, NPO Katariba’s Onagawa staff, who led the group.

In addition, a short-term English language program for teachers in Minato City is offered in summer. Teachers learn about English language teaching methods and experience a higher education environment from the students’ point of view.

Dispatching assistants to cross-cultural experience class for elementary and middle school students

Photo: TUJ student introducing Norway in class (at Mita Elementary School, Minato City, in September 2014)
TUJ student introducing Norway in class (at Mita Elementary School, Minato City, in September 2014)

Since 2006, TUJ has sent its foreign students and staff to schools in Minato City to introduce their cultures to the schoolchildren. Countries introduced so far include Germany, France, Switzerland, Russia, Bulgaria, Finland, Norway, China, India, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Nepal, Korea, Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Tahiti, Peru, Brazil, and other countries. Using PowerPoint slides, they have presented the charms of their native countries in English and Japanese, and sparked interest by wearing ethnic dress. A total of 370 TUJ students and staff from over 30 countries have taken part in the program, and presented their cultures to roughly 15,000 elementary and middle school students in Minato City.

TUJ students serving as tutors for international students in Minato City public schools

Minato City has a very high percentage of foreign residents, many of them children. TUJ students with the same mother tongue provide elementary and junior high school students, whose first language is not Japanese, with support and guidance in Japanese language learning and life adjustment. So far, for example, guidance has been provided to students who speak English, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Indonesian, Tagalog, Thai, Persian and Bengali. TUJ students find themselves reflecting on when they first came to Japan, and enjoy helping more recent arrivals. Since 2007, a total of 120 TUJ students have been dispatched, supporting 120 elementary and middle school students.

“Minato Citizens’ University” public lectures on campus

Photo: 2014 Minato Citizens' University "Japan as Number Three" at TUJ
2014 Minato Citizens’ University “Japan as Number Three” at TUJ

TUJ has been holding public lectures on campus for the “Minato Citizen’s University,” which is part of Minato City’s adult education program. TUJ has been offering the only courses in English since 2007, with approximately 2,000 residents taking part to date. This year’s lectures focus on the Olympics and will be delivered by not only faculty from the fields of political science and anthropology, but the dean himself, giving lectures and exploring contemporary Japanese society from a variety of angles.

2015 Minato Citizen’s University at Temple University, Japan Campus: “The Olympics”

November 2, 4, 6, & 10, 2015
Register by October 21 at 17:00