23rd Annual Shizuoka Summer Tour offers UNO students insight into Japanese culture


By Beth Flynn

UNO and Shizuoka University in Japan worked together to put on the 23rd Annual Shizuoka Summer Tour Aug. 1 through 31.

Shizuoka University has been UNO’s sister school since 1979.

Every year, UNO offers students from Japan a chance to learn about different American cultures and values through a study abroad program.

Students may learn from simple gestures like a basic handshake to different entertainment activities, ranging from art museums to movies or shopping.

Even though the students study English for about eight years in Japan prior to coming to America, they are also offered a chance to study Intensive English at UNO’s Intensive Language Program.

However, most still feel a little awkward about the language, even though most can read and write English fairly well. They still need review on basic conversational skills.

More than 500 students from SU were selected to participate in this year’s summer exchange program.

UNO provides six to eight scholarships and one or more tuition waiver scholarships for students from SU to participate in the exchange program and study for one year at UNO.

SU in return provides one scholarship from the Japanese Government Ministry called Monbukagakusho for a UNO student to spend one year studying the Japanese language as well as the Japanese culture at SU.

Many UNO student band groups and faculty members have also traveled to Shizuoka for academic and cultural exchanges.

One student who was part of the exchange program back in 1994 came back to Omaha to visit her host family and stopped to see Lori Arias, the assistant director of International Student Services.

“It has been the greatest experience of my life and it led to travel to many other countries to learn about other cultures,” the student said.

Arias said this is the kind of response they hope to receive from all of the students participating in the exchange program.

Two UNO students who will be going to SU this fall are Andy Lagemann, who is going on a one-year scholarship and Austin Leland, who is going on a partial scholarship.

UNO and SU plan to continue on with their sisterhood as well as to continue on with this program, hoping to bring different cultures into the lives of others.


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