For nearly three weeks this summer, Southern Adventist University hosted 13 Japanese students, primarily from Saniku Gakuin College, an Adventist institution less than two hours from Tokyo, Japan. This annual program, which began nearly 10 years ago, gives students the opportunity to take a nursing course as well as an English as a second language class while on campus.
Beckie Retzer, Southern nursing professor, believes the program can be eye-opening for them.
“Nursing is different in Japan,” Retzer said. “The nurses are not allowed quite the autonomy that nurses are here, so they see some cultural differences, which I think is invaluable to young people.”
Most of the attendees are sophomore nursing majors back in Japan. Like many of her classmates, student Yui Oashi said that her family ties are a big influence in her career aspirations.
“I want to be a pediatric nurse in the future, because I like to take care of children,” Oashi said. “My mother is a nurse, and I want to respect her.”
Other participants expressed how much they enjoyed being able to come to America and visit Southern because they believe the experience will help them reach their goals.
“My courage is not so big at home, but here it is so big,” said student Kaho Ogawa.
Local families host the students and try to immerse them in American and Adventist culture.
“I used to be a student missionary in Japan, so having the students stay with me gives me a little taste of the culture again,” said Linda Case, host parent and cafeteria hostess at Southern. “It’s nice because I know a little Japanese, and they know a little English.”
English professor Amanda Livanos, the program coordinator, also sees these visits as a way to reach out to the students spiritually.
“They come from an Adventist college, but most of them are not Adventists,” Livanos said. “Here they have worship in class and can attend church on Sabbaths with their host families. It is a wonderful experience to be able to show them God.”
Livanos believes that this experience is not just good for the visiting students, but also for campus and the host families.
“When we get to know other cultures,” Livanos said, “we gain a broader worldview and understanding, and that’s beneficial.”
Southern Adventist University | October 2017