Manchester University
Oak Leaves

October 27, 2018

Japanese Professors Visit MU

Victoria Heishman


Manchester University welcomed three guests from Gakuen Hokusei University, Sapporo Japan on Friday, October 12: Toru Kataoka, associate professor of education and peace studies, Kazuhiko Nakamura, professor of social work and resilience research, and Koichi Makita, professor of clinical psychology.

Thelma Rohrer, who oversees the study abroad program, hosted a lunch for the guests at 12:00 p.m at Haist Commons, allowing for students who are interested in being involved with the International Education program at Hokusei to visit and meet some of the professors.

Students were encouraged to come, even if it were only for a short period of time. One of the popular questions asked by the professors of students was whether they like anime, which invited students to discuss their interests with the professors.

Students were also able to talk about Manchester, which has had relations with Hokusei for 30 years, first through Brethren Colleges Abroad (BCA) from 1988 to 2013, and then through the Bilateral Exchange program from 2014 to present. Toru attended Manchester in 1995 and worked as a dishwasher in the Union, and studied peace studies.

The following week, on Monday, October 15, Toru hosted a presentation over Hokusei. He detailed how relations with the university began, and how his own roots to the university were created. “I was riding a train to Hiroshima,” Toru stated. “It was one that took about three days to reach my destination.” He continued to explain that it was during that journey he discovered Manchester, and how he would eventually become an exchange student. “The exchange program began in 1965, and now has 16 partner schools,” he said, using his PowerPoint presentation as a guide.

The classes available in English at Hokusei were brought up on a slide, and the types of Japanese classes available to students were also displayed. Students were able to learn the class scheduling, and how students would have their morning filled with Japanese class, and the rest with electives. “When you first arrive in Japan, you would go to the dormitories on campus until your host family arrives to pick you up,” Toru said, his arms resting on the podium in front of him. “It allows for you to not have to worry about the outside world while you adjust.” Students who attend Hokusei are required to stay with host families during their stay in the hopes of having an in depth experience with the culture and language.

There are plenty of facilities and activities available to students on Hokusei, one of them being the International Cafe. “If you are working at the cafe, and a Japanese person comes up to order” said Toru, pointing to an image on the PowerPoint, “They can’t order in Japanese; instead, they have to order in English. The same would be if a Korean was there. You would have to order in Korean.” The international Cafe also offers a part time job position for students abroad who are looking for some extra cash.

Once the presentation was over, students were free to ask any questions that they might have.