By Craig Lawson, International Programs

2-Japan-bowPULLMAN, Wash. – Nearly 50 junior high and high school students from Japan visited Washington State University last week. Some were inspired to attend WSU as part of the expanding exchange program.

“Thanks to the professionalism of WSU’s Intensive American Language Center (IALC) staff, we have students who are interested in continuing their education at WSU when the time comes,” said Alex Kishaba, Japan spokesman for Developing Okinawa Through Education (D.O.T.E.).

Glenn Johnson, WSU communication professor and Pullman mayor, with a gift from Japan.
Glenn Johnson, WSU communication professor and Pullman mayor, with a gift from Japan.

Discussion between D.O.T.E. and WSU began six years ago. Late WSU President Elson S. Floyd signed a memorandum of understanding in 2012 to teach English classes online to high school students in Okinawa.

The IALC is part of the Office of International Programs at WSU. Staff members teach English as a second language and prepare students to attend colleges and universities.

“We want to continue this program in the future,” Kishaba said. “The idea is to bring future Cougars from Japan to Pullman. Someday, we would like to see Pullman junior high school students studying in Japan and WSU students teaching in Okinawa.”

Students from 20 schools in Okinawa studied English at the IALC in the mornings and toured WSU and the city of Pullman in the afternoons. They met and exchanged gifts with Mayor Glenn Johnson, Fire Chief Mike Heston and Police Chief Gary Jenkins.

“Due to the success of this program, eight other municipalities have shown interest in these trips,” Kishaba said.