The international education committee hosted its fourth annual visit with the Okinawa Women’s Junior College (OWJC) from March 3 through 8. The visit consisted of class tours, hands-on activities and interaction with WCC students.
Committee chair Toshi Ikagawa explained that the program was formed to educate and help both WCC and Okinawa students gain experience in a different cultural setting. This year, 14 OWJC students participated.
“My first day at WCC, I was surrounded by lots of kindness and hospitality,” said OWJC student Ichika Miyagi. “I’ve learned a lot and hope to come back in the near future.”
Each day presented something different for the OWJC students. On some days, the students participated in an English conversation class with instructor Jean Shibuya and WCC students. The women also joined the JPNS 102: Elementary Japanese II course, where they practiced speaking English while the WCC students practiced their Japanese.
“Yes, it was difficult, but definitely a learning experience,” said WCC student Jonah Aberilla.
The OWJC students attended a lecture about the geography of Hawai’i by Toshi Ikagawa, made ceramics with ceramics professor Paul Nash, watched two shows at the Imaginarium (Mauna Kea and Space Lab) and sat in on Nick Logueʻs THEA 222: Acting II class.
The women also attended a cooking class where they prepared two Okinawan dishes: somen tempura and hirayachi, which is an Okinawan wheat pancake made with green onions and cheddar cheese instead of baking powder.
The visit ended with a closing ceremony in the theatre class where each OWJC student did an entertainment exchange with WCC theatre students.
WCC theatre student Kepa Galeng said that he and his classmates did a role play from William Shakespeare and in return the women demonstrated karate and other dance performances.
“It was fun engaging with foreign exchange students,” Galeng said. “I would definitely go to Japan for an exchange program. I wouldn’t know what to expect but to learn and have a good time.”
At the end of the ceremony, Toshi Ikagawa awarded each of the women with a certificate of completion for the program.
“I hope more students will join us,” Ikagawa said. “We want to expose the Okinawa students to WCC students. I want to promote this program and that one day WCC students can travel to Okinawa as well.”
by Dutches Richards, Ka ‘Ohana Staff Reporter