SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - If all goes according to plan, 10 Saga University students interested in immersing themselves in learning English as a second language will be on the Slippery Rock University campus next fall.
"We hope to have the students on campus for a week sometime in September," said Yakako Ishimaru, an instructor in SRU's modern languages and cultures department who is organizing the visit.
A graduate of Saga University, a 7,300-student, higher education institution in Saga, Japan, Ishimaru said a professor there contacted her last summer about setting up the program. Saga has campuses in Honjo and Nabeshima in the southern part of the country, about 90-minutes from Tokyo by air.
"The initial plan is for the students to spend a week to 10 days in the U.S., including a week here at SRU. They will also get the chance to visit either New York City or Washington, D.C., with their chaperone as part of the program," said.
While at SRU they will attend classes and be immersed in the English language. "It will also be a chance to learn about American culture," she said.
Ishimaru, who joined the SRU faculty in 2006, is working out details for the visiting students to stay with host families in the Slippery Rock area.
She said she got the initial idea a few years ago while working on a similar project to involve a number of colleges and universities already working with SRU to bring students to campus. "At the time there was just not enough interest, but now with a direct contact at Saga, I think the program will work," she said.
"The real purpose of the program is to give the visiting students the opportunity to learn the English language and to have them involved in American academic life," she said.
"Once we complete this leg of the program, I hope we can arrange a similar program to send SRU students to Japan," she said. "That phase of the program is still in the planning and negotiating stage."
Like Slippery Rock University, what is today National University Corp. Saga University, the Saga got it start in 1884 (SRU: 1889) as a normal school. It formally became Saga University in 1949 and merged with SAGA Medical School in 2003.
Anyone, particularly families, interested in serving as hosts for the weeklong visit, are asked to contact Ishimaru at 724.738.2395.
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.