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The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

Moravian Hosts Two Students From Osaka, Japan

Photo courtesy of Dr. John Black. From left to right: Danielle McEaddy ’26, Kiichiro Yamamoto, Airi Terado, Emma Ward ’27, and Giara Piazza ’27.

Two students from Ohtani University in Osaka, Japan, spent a twelve-day “learning experience” at Moravian from March 8 to March 20. 

The students, Kiichiro Yamamoto and Airi Terado are education majors. Terado is majoring in early childhood/elementary education, with a focus on the Japanese language, and Yamamoto is majoring in secondary education. 

The students participated in a short-term faculty-led experience. Led by their faculty adviser from home, Myles Grogan, they were also offered instruction in English as a Second Language (ESL) by Dr. Anize Appel, executive director of the Center for Global Education.

During their time in the States, Yamamoto and Terado learned about figurative language and idiomatic expressions that are used in everyday American culture.  

“The goal was to focus on the ultimate meaning of the phrases and not on the individual words which would cause much confusion,” said Jesher Velazquez, program coordinator for the Center for Global Education. “Examples [of figurative language and idiomatic expressions] include ‘raining cats and dogs, Skyscraper, hot dog.’” 

While staying at Moravian, the students went on a day trip to New York City, where they got to see the Empire State Building, Times Square, Macy’s Herald Square, and a Korean barbeque in Koreatown. The students also learned about the educational system in America, the local population and industry in Bethlehem, as well as the implications of marketing and advertisements. 

“The highlight of this experience has been building a connection with Airi and Kiichiro,” said Velazquez. “They’ve been fascinated by Moravian University and have fully embraced student life here.”

In addition to seeing NYC, the students took another day-long trip to Philadelphia, where they saw Constitution Hall, the Liberty Bell Museum, and the King of Prussia Mall. For their studies, Yamamoto and Terado went to Northampton Community College, where they visited Community Colleges for International Development students and attended classes for early childhood and elementary education. They also stopped by Moravian Academy at the Green Pond Campus.

“As Education Majors from Ohtani University, they’ve found immense value in experiencing and learning about the American education system,” Velazquez said.

The Moravian Faculty Group, which has been involved in leading trips to Japan, raised funds to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Moravian’s sister-university relationship with Ohtani University with a dinner at the Sun Inn in historic Bethlehem. Students from the Humanities Fellowship (Emma Ward ‘27, Danielle McEaddy ‘26, and Giara Piazza ‘27) got to know Yamamoto and Terado during the dinner.

“It was especially wonderful that Moravian student/Humanities Fellow Giara Piazza speaks Japanese and could help facilitate conversation among students,” said Dr. Kelly Denton Borhaug, professor of religion and co-director for the Moravian University Humanities Fellowship. 

Students from the Humanities Fellowship also took the Japanese visitors out for ice cream at the Penn State Creamery in downtown Bethlehem, visited local shops on Main Street, and showed them some of the Pennslyvania countryside. While getting ice cream, the Moravian Fellowship students talked about the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day parade and Moravian Activities Council events and also discussed their interests in video games.

“I mentioned that … one of my favorite games to play was Hollow Knight,” said studio art major Emma Ward ‘27. “And his [Kiichiro’s] eyes lit up and we started to talk about our shared love for the game and our shared lamentation for the sequel, Silk Song, that has been ‘coming soon’ for years now.”

This short-term study is the first since 2019 when a group of Moravian students and faculty visited Osaka. On that trip, students and faculty from Moravian spent time at Ohtani University and visited Tondabayashi, an old city located close to Osaka where there is an exhibit/memorial commemorating its sister city relationship with Bethlehem.  

“We are looking forward to beginning a vibrant program again,” said Appel. 

The theme of the 2019 seminar was “Japan, Culture, and the Legacy of Nuclear Weapons.”  Students in the course visited the two peace museums in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, met and spoke with hibakusha (nuclear weapons survivors), connected with students and faculty of RECNA (Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition), and also visited Kyoto, a historic city rich in temples, shrines and other elements of Japanese culture. 

“We visited the Radiation Effects Center, which enabled students to make connections of how hibakusha were followed, cared for (or not cared for despite their wounds and trauma following the nuclear devastation), and researched after this unfortunate incident by the government and healthcare professionals,” said Dr. Karen Groller, associate professor of nursing and public health. 

Dr. Kin Cheung will teach the next Osaka travel seminar in 2025.  Professors Groller, Huijing Wen, and Anastasia Thevenin plan to lead the trip associated with the seminar to Ohtani University, Hiroshima, and Kyoto. The title of the trip will be “Anime, Ramen, and Zen: Cultural Immersion in Japan;” more information about the trip will be released in April. 

“Both studies in moral injury and the legacy of nuclear weapons have helped me to more deeply and empathetically understand the tragic and atrocity-laden consequences of war,” said Denton-Borhaug. “And I have seen how this awareness, empathy, and deeper understanding also grows among students through these opportunities to study abroad.”

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  • K

    Kin CheungMar 22, 2024 at 1:38 pm

    Thank you for this article Liz! Dr. Huijing Wen will co-lead the travel experience with me in May of 2025. The trip will not only be to Osaka, but also Hiroshima and Kyoto.

    Anime, Ramen, and Zen: Cultural Immersion in Japan!