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East Meets West at Williston State College

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East Meets West at Williston State College

Posted: Sep 30 2015

WILLISTON, N.D. - Japanese students from Kokusai Junior College (KJC) got a taste of American culture when Williston State College hosted them September 2-13.

Fifteen Japanese students, supervised by two chaperones, came to learn about America and practice their conversational English while staying with local host families. According to Kim Weismann, Arts and Human Science Department Chair, seven families hosted the students: Katie and Travis Peterson, Kim Weismann and Tony Freed, Heather Billings, Rory and Emily Cowan, Leland and Beverly Tong, Charles and Elizabeth Pitcher and Trevor and Jordan Cooley. All host families had two students except the Cooley family, which had three.

Jordan Cooley is not new to this experience. Not only did she host last year, but she was part of the eighteen-day immersion program with KJC in Japan in late May. Along with ten other WSC students, Cooley taught English in exchange for lessons in Japanese customs from calligraphy to origami.

Cooley wanted to take the trip to Japan after her first host family experience, when she and her husband hosted a shy, interesting young man named Tomoki. "We had taken him to my husband's work BBQ and everyone was just so fascinated with the small differences between our cultures," Cooley explained. "Hosting Tomoki inspired me to make the trip to Japan because it made me curious about their culture."

Struck by Japan's strict culture, Cooley was surprised that most students did not have the privileges Americans had. "I made it my mission to open my home to these students, to show them the American way and to do my best to let them experience the thing that they wanted to try the most while here."

The Japanese students were encouraged to expand their knowledge of American culture while practicing their conversational English with students their own age. Attending classes and staying with host families, these students described their experiences in a group presentation September 11.

Several KJC students remarked on how friendly and affectionate people were in the Midwest. They could not get over how much space Williston had, but several found our desserts were "too sweet". Trips to Medora and the Enchanted Highway were interspersed with trips to Walmart for inexpensive items. Some even got to experience driving a car and shooting a gun, both, of course, with proper training and supervision from their host families.

For more information, contact Kim Weismann at 701.774.4544.
For any information regarding WSC, please visit www.willistonstate.edu,
call 1.888.863.9455, or stop by 1410 University Avenue, Williston, ND.

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