By Fatima Magana '22
ALLIANCE, OH- The University of Mount Union is known for its encouraging spirit toward students’ travel experiences. However, Mount Union also offers a welcoming environment for international students to visit campus and ultimately choose Mount Union as their alma mater.
An exceptional partnership that the University has is the Spring Break Hiroshima Jogakuin Program which began in 2010 and allows Japanese high school teenage girls to visit campus and learn about college life.
“The partnership with the Hiroshima Jogakuin High School began in 2010 although Mount Union and the high school have an extensive relationship that dates back to 1952 when we had the first student, Yoshino Murakami study at Mount Union,” stated Dawn Adams, assistant dean of students and director of international student services.
Every year for the high schools’ spring break, faculty choose 10 girls to sign up for the trip to Mount Union. This year, the girls visited campus from March 27 through April 1. During their week-long visit, the girls stayed with host families who fostered a caring environment, allowing the girls to experience what American life is like.
Throughout the week, the girls visited the Alliance Community Food Pantry to volunteer, sat in on classes on campus, taught origami to local high school students, had a “social hour” at the B and B Café with Mount Union students, and tie-dyed t-shirts with the Association of International Students, and Japanese Club.
“Each year, the faculty from the high school and I revise the past schedules to help determine the upcoming visits’ activities,” said Adams. “My hope for the girls’ visit is that they share Japanese culture with American students through presentations and social interactions, but also to promote American and college life to the girls and encourage them to study at Mount just like Yoshino did.”
Adams, who coordinates events and trips for international students and serves as a school official for immigration matters for international students, explained that in 1968, Mount Union named a scholarship after Murakami. The scholarship allows a student from Hiroshima Jogakuin to study at Mount Union.
“My favorite activity is the Goodbye Party. It is amazing to see how quickly the relationships are built through this immersive experience,” said Adams.
To learn more about international students and international admission visit https://www.mountunion.edu/international-students