In August, 37 students from Chubu University in Japan arrived in Athens, Ohio to study English in the Ohio Program of Intensive English at Ohio University. OPIE receives groups of students from Chubu University in the fall and the spring every year, but the group in the fall has a slightly different focus than the group in the spring. The Chubu students who came this fall had a service-learning component added to their program of study. One of the goals of this program was to obtain an Intercultural Communication Certificate (ICUC). In order to obtain this certificate, the students needed to participate in a certain number of events on campus and in the community. For campus events, the students attended International Conversation Hour, Japanese language classes, and the Japanese Culture Hour. For community events, the students participated in various events of their choosing. Some of those events included visiting seniors in a local nursing home, helping serve lunch at Athens First Presbyterian Church, helping serve a meal at United Campus Ministry, volunteering at the Athens County Food Pantry, cleaning up garbage with Rural Action, and volunteering at the Race for the Cure event to raise money for cancer research.
In addition to completing the ICUC, the Chubu students also had an opportunity to meet American students in their COMs class, an oral communication class that combines American and Japanese students. They also took sports classes on campus with other OU students, and interacted with local elementary students on Fridays at East Elementary as part of an American Experience class.
The Chubu students also had an opportunity to explore other areas of the U.S. besides Athens. They traveled to Washington D.C., Niagara Falls, New York, and some of the students visited Florida. They also visited Dayton and Columbus on shopping and sightseeing trips.
The students will have a final goodbye banquet at Ohio University on Wednesday, December 7th before departing on December 9th. The OPIE program has enjoyed hosting the Chubu students. We will miss seeing their smiling faces in the hallway. We wish them the best of luck in the future and hope that they will return to Ohio University someday.