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October 26, 1998

UC signs student exchange agreement with Japanese university

UC Office of the President

The University of California expanded its already extensive ties with Japanese universities when it signed a new agreement with Tsuru Bunka University.

Beginning in the spring of 1999, UC students will be able to study Japanese language, society, and culture in Tsuru under the auspices of the UC's Education Abroad Program (EAP). In exchange, Tsuru Bunka University students will have the opportunity to come to one of the nine UC campuses to study.

The agreement, signed on Oct. 14, was celebrated throughout the Tsuru community. A California delegation to Tsuru was enthusiastically welcomed by Tsuru City civic leaders, including the mayor and council members, Tsuru Bunka University faculty, staff, and students, and the Tsuru City citizenry.

"We will make our utmost effort to ensure that every UC student who comes to our university will have a rich academic experience in learning Japanese language and culture, and enjoy the Japanese way of life," said Tetsuo Kuboki, President of Tsuru Bunka University. UC was represented by UC professor Kanji Ono, past EAP study center director in Japan, professor Masako Ishii-Kuntz, current EAP study center director in Japan, and Ms. Akiko Kaji, program assistant.

In a prepared text, EAP Director John Marcum thanked Tsuru Bunka University and Tsuru City for their generosity. Dr. Marcum also promised to provide young Japanese students who come to UC to study a meaningful and rewarding educational experience in their chosen disciplines. Approximately 120 students attended a subsequent session to learn about studying at UC through the exchange.

The Tsuru program for UC students will include intensive language study and courses in Japanese literature, art, drama, history, culture, philosophy, social science, law, economics, and the environment. Tsuru Bunka University is recognized for its special strength in Japanese studies.

"This program provides an excellent opportunity for UC students to accelerate their Japanese language learning and develop a solid understanding of contemporary Japan," said Ishii-Kuntz.

Dr. Peter Wollitzer, regional director for EAP programming in Asia at the universitywide office of EAP, indicates that this program is a model for the kind of cooperation that can exist between two host universities.

"The University of Tsuru was incredibly accommodating and cooperative with UC in designing this short-term language and culture program," he said. "Our hope is that this program will serve as a model for cooperation in designing future curricula between Japanese host universities and UC."

The Tsuru option complements a broad range of EAP programming already in place in Japan where EAP conducts academic exchanges with more than a dozen universities. Options include Japanese and Asian area studies, specialized work in economics or engineering, and regular university courses in a comprehensive range of disciplines and interdisciplinary fields.

UC's Education Abroad Program annually sends more than 1,900 UC students to pursue UC degree studies at more than 119 sites in 35 countries. In most cases, UC students are fully integrated into the academic curriculum of the foreign host university and study alongside their foreign counterparts.

Through its exchanges, partnerships, and initiatives, EAP expands the scope of education at UC by giving students access to the vast new sources of knowledge available worldwide, to special pedagogical methods and field study opportunities, and of course to widely varying cultural, social, political, and economic environments. Incorporating such expansive learning opportunities into a UC education powerfully multiplies UC's comprehensive educational impact on students and provides them with a distinct competitive advantage in the global career marketplace of the 21st century.

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