Japan visits C-U this summer

By Jon Hansen

Living with complete strangers for three weeks in a foreign country can be intimidating. But according to Stan Van Horn, it can be an invaluable experience for all parties involved.

Van Horn, a lecturer at the University’s Intensive English Institute, is coordinating this year’s summer language program. The program is seeking local families who are interested in hosting one or more Japanese students for three weeks later this summer.

Van Horn said the ultimate goals for the Japanese students are learning the language and cultural immersion.

“To go home and have conversations in English about their day really pushes them to use the language a lot more,” Van Horn said. “Then they get a much more well-rounded picture of what American culture and life is than if they just lived in the dormitories.”

More than forty students from two Japanese universities will be on campus from late July until mid August. Most will be staying with host families for three weeks, while others for four.

Individuals, couples, or families are welcome to apply to host one or more students.

Hosts provide housing and meals for students, and according to Van Horn, let the Japanese students experience living like a local.

“Some of it is just simple things,” says Van Horn. “Like taking the student to a county fair with a local flavor. Or if the host family likes to go bowling, go bowling. If you’ve got a personal hobby you like to share, those are the things that turn out to be the most valuable experiences.”

According to Van Horn, the Intensive English Institute will be taking the students on trips to Chicago and Springfield, so host families are not expected to take their students on long trips.

Van Horn said that the experience is not only beneficial to the students.

“Families get to learn what it’s like to live with someone from another culture,” Van Horn said. “You learn a lot about yourself when you are confronted by someone who thinks the way you do things is strange.”