On Monday, February 6, 119 students from Tokyo International University will arrive on the campus of Willamette University and Tokyo International University of America. This marks the 29th year since the program began in 1989. In that time, almost 3,000 students have enrolled in the one-year American Studies Program (ASP) at Willamette University.
After a week of opening days activities, classes will begin on Monday, February 13. This year's class includes students from Japan, China and Taiwan. It is composed of 58 women and 61 men.
If you are interested in getting involved with the students, TIUA offers a Tomodachi ("friendship") Program which matches community members with students and asks that they meet together at least once per month. There are several options this year, including a semester program (April-June or Sept.-Dec.) or for the entire year (April-December). It is not a homestay program, but provides an opportunity for students to get off campus and share typical "American" experiences with local participants. For more information or application forms, click here.
We also offer a Language Tutor Program which is free to local community members. ASP students sign up to be tutors and languages include Japanese and occasionally other languages such as Chinese or Korean. For more information on this program, click here.
Community service learning opportunities, or volunteering, are a very important component of the American Studies Program at Willamette University and TIUA. Service-learning is a method of teaching based on the principle that community involvement is an invaluable component to a student's educational experience. A healthy collaboration between community partners, staff/faculty, and university students to tackle specific social issues in Salem through service-learning can be a mutually meaningful and mutually beneficial experience.
ASP students have many opportunities to volunteer during their year in Salem. Here are a couple of the activities they participated during the fall semester, 2016. A lot of students went to the Oregon Coast to join the SOLVE Beach Clean-Up, where they picked up trash along the coast. Other students went to the Marion-Polk Food Share Youth Farm to pick squash, clean fields, and help create a hedge row.
Click here to see photos of some students' experience volunteering.
Gunnar Gundersen, Executive Vice President