A junior from Arlington was sent as the first student from ACU to study abroad at Kyushu Sangyo University in Fukuoka, Japan. School officials hope to send more students in the future.
Rachel Katagiri, international studies major, said she will take classes such as Japanese language and culture, Chinese language and conversation and international business when school starts. KSU does not offer international exchange classes to help students learn the language just yet, she said. Katagiri said she grew up in Japan so she knows enough Japanese to get by.
“My hope is that KSU will be able to offer classes in English that will teach the Japanese language,” Katagiri said. “This would be something similar to ESL, but the opposite, JSL , or Japanese for Speakers of other Languages.”
Katagiri is in Japan working at Starbucks to make money for school, but she said school won’t start until April 1. Japanese universities break classes up into two semesters, so each class takes a year to complete.
“Part one of most classes will be taken during April to August,” Katagiri said. “Part two will be taken from September to January.”
Katagiri said she hopes students will be able to travel to KSU for the April to August semester in 2016 so they can still start their Fall semester at ACU as normal.
“I would absolutely love to see other ACU students go to KSU and study in Japan as exchange students,” she said. “My dream is for ACU students to have the marvelous opportunity to study in Japan if they so desire.”
Stephen Shewmaker, executive director of the Center for International Education, said an international agreement between ACU and KSU has been in place since the 1990s which allows students to spend a semester at each school. However, though many KSU students have taken advantage of the agreement each year, none of the ACU students have traveled to Japan.
Katagiri said when she found out about this agreement she wanted to be the first to try it out.
“I wanted to be able to experience what it’s like to be a student in Japan,” she said.
Shewmaker said students who travel to Japan in the future will stay for only a semester under the agreement, but that Katagiri decided to stay the second semester on her own.