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Gifu Students in Classroom
Gifu students present to a Grandview Elementary class

September 8, 2017- Northern Kentucky University welcomes back international students from Japan’s Gifu University for another year of learning and teaching.

The nine Japanese students, all education majors, will be in Northern Kentucky until mid-September while they take intensive English language classes. On Wednesday, the students visited Grandview Elementary School in Bellevue, Kentucky to tour an American school and teach children about Japanese culture.

"We are incredibly honored to partner with NKU in this endeavor,” Robb Smith, Superintendent of Bellevue Independent School District said. “The opportunity for our students to learn from our Japanese friends is beyond any experience we could provide.  We are thrilled to host these students for the day.”

The program is designed to break down barriers and form connections with those outside of our country. In addition to Bellevue Schools, the Japanese students have visited Grant’s Lick Elementary and plan to visit Roberts Paideia Academy and Notre Dame Academy.

Gifu students in front of school

"Having teacher education students from Gifu University visiting NKU for three weeks provides a rich opportunity to learn from and with these students,” Dean Cindy Reed, College of Education and Human Services said. “They are opening our eyes to cultural differences in educator preparation programs as well as the many similarities that exist in our communities.”

NKU and Gifu University have partnered on this program for the last three years.

“We have an exchange agreement with Gifu University where we will send out students to Gifu and receive theirs for up to a year of study,” Francois Le Roy, the executive director of the Center for Global Engagement and International Affairs said. “It is our longest-standing exchange partner school.”

The Japanese students stayed with a host family over Labor Day weekend to experience an American household. They also attended a Reds’ game, visited Churchill Downs and toured the Louisville Slugger Factory Museum. Out of all these American experiences, they say enjoying Skyline Chili is one of their favorites. The students return to Japan on September 14.