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July 19, 2013
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine

Rock educators head east, Far East

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -International students enhance multiculturalism at Slippery Rock University, help preserve enrollment and build bridges. With these benefits in mind, SRU's Eva Tsuquiashi-Daddesio and two modern language faculty members will leave today for a two-week, 14,000-mile student recruitment trip to Japan and Korea.

Joining Tsuquiashi-Daddesio, dean of the College of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts, are Ana Maria Caula, associate professor and chair of modern languages and cultures, and Yukako Ishimaru, instructor of modern languages and cultures, who teaches Japanese.

"I am going because it is very important to establish personal relationships at the highest level, because it gets the ball rolling for everybody else," Tsuquiashi-Daddesio said.

Tsuquiashi-Daddesio and Caula will visit Kangwon National University in Korea and Ishimaru will join them in Saga University in Japan to explore future exchange opportunities for students and faculty.

Tsuquiashi-Daddesio said SRU has transfer agreements in place with the partner institutions, but she hopes to expand the scope to involve more students while introducing the possibility of a faculty exchange and creating dual programming. Ten Saga University students will visit SRU in September for a two-week cultural exchange, with the hope they will enroll later for at least a semester. This summer two SRU students will participate in a two-week sustainability class for young leaders offered at Saga, and one student will study Korean culture, economics, history and business at Kangwon National.

SRU is stepping up its international partnerships because of an increasing emphasis on globalism in education, society and employment. SRU educators and administrators have traveled to China for recruitment purposes and will return in October to visit universities in Xi'an, Shanghai, Nanjing and Wuhan.

Tsuquiashi-Daddesio said graduates need to expand their horizons to better compete in the global job market. One important way to make themselves more marketable to future employers is to participate in an international exchange program at a foreign University, she said.

"If you look at people who are getting the jobs that matter in terms of finance or in terms of life satisfaction, they are the jobs that take you to different places, that take you beyond your comfort borders," she said. "We need to help our students who might think that Butler County is a far as they want to go that they have to make a choice between focusing on just the smaller world or opening up to the whole world."

"I just returned from the Japanese Studies Institute's program on infusing Japanese studies in the undergraduate curriculum at San Diego State University in California, where we had a presentation from the consul general of Japan, who said they are interested in promoting more educational exchanges between the U.S. and Japan," Tsuquiashi-Daddesio said.

America "has a high tendency to be isolationist in many ways and one of the reasons might be that it has been, and still is, the most powerful economic force in the world," she said. "However, we have expanded economically, but, to our detriment, we have not done a good enough job of helping our people to better interact with the world."

Caula said international students support the University's vision statement, "To excel as a caring community of lifelong learners connecting with the world." She hopes the trip will result in stronger connections and identify new ways in which SRU faculty and students can work together to embrace globalism.

"International students add an important and treasured dynamic to the entire campus," she said. "International students always help our students and faculty to see the world in a larger context, to expand their vision and connect with different cultures."

Caula said she would meet and talk with language professors at Kangwon National and Saga about the importance of studying a foreign language.

"Today, through technology such as Skype, email, chat rooms, Facebook, interactive television and others, it is easy to keep students connected to other students learning languages around the world," she said. "This trip will help us make the first steps for different kinds of future exchanges."

SRU is among the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education institutions that offer a greater variety of language classes, including Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

"As the chairperson of the modern languages and cultures department, I consider it important to continue offering students as many languages as possible. I am hoping this trip will not only help the University to recruit more international students, but also reinforce the Asian studies minor and all the Asian languages we offer."

SRU also offers language classes in Spanish, French, Arabic and German.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.