Elms College Hosts Students, Faculty, and President of Japan’s University of Kochi

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For the twelfth consecutive year, Elms College is hosting exchange students from University of Kochi during a 12-day visit. Additionally, faculty of Elms College and University of Kochi, and local experts will discuss current nursing programs as well as disaster nursing.

Students from University of Kochi with their Elms College "Friendship Partners" on February 23, 2012.

“The student exchange program is incredibly beneficial to both Elms students and Kochi students,” says Joyce Hampton, director of international programs and the English language learners program at Elms College.

For the twelfth consecutive year, Elms College is hosting exchange students from University of Kochi during a 12-day visit, from February 21 to March 3. Each year, Kochi students live at Elms College, while Elms students travel to Kochi every other summer.

This year, University of Kochi President, Hiroko Minami, DNSc, will visit Elms College for the first time. Minami and four additional Kochi faculty members will be in western Massachusetts March 1-3. Minami and professors Kimiko Nagasawa, Ph.D., Yoko Uchikawa, M.Ed., Takahiro Ioroi, Ph.D., and Ayako Okada, Ph.D., will join Elms College President Sr. Mary Reap, IHM, Ph.D., and members of the Elms faculty and staff, for a presentation on “Pathways to Nursing,” which will highlight various nursing programs offered through Elms from one-thirty to three-thirty p.m. on March 1.

At nine a.m. on March 2, the visiting Kochi faculty will attend a panel discussion on disaster nursing—the main reason for their visit. The panel members include Stephanie Bozigian-Merrick, RN, consultant to the Hampden and Hampshire County Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coalitions, first coordinator of the Medical Reserve Corps of Hampden County, who helped with disaster response after the Joplin, Missouri tornado; Mary Allen, RN, public health nurse administrator with the West Springfield Health Department, who helped coordinate the local response to the June 2011 tornado; Robin Neipp, RN, emergency department nurse at Baystate Franklin Medical Center, who coordinates local disaster preparedness and training drills, and assisted with disaster relief in Haiti; and Gina Smith, RN, emergency preparedness coordinator at University of Massachusetts Medical Center and team commander for the MA-2 Disaster Medical Assistance Team.

“The student exchange program is incredibly beneficial to both Elms students and Kochi students,” says Joyce Hampton, director of international programs and the English language learners program at Elms College. “It is a successful program year after year. Having President Minami here to meet with Elms faculty as well as members from the region’s nursing profession will create an even larger impact on our global thinking and internationalism.”

In 2011, Kochi became co-educational. Formerly Kochi Women’s University, the school will send nine female students and—for the first time—one male student. Professor Yoshinari Yamaguchi will accompany the students, who major in cultural studies and social work, as they attend Elms classes in business, sociology, history, and more.

Each Kochi student is paired with three or four Elms students known as “Friendship Partners”—some male, some female, some on-campus residents, and some commuters. They will act as roommates, classmates, and partners in planned language and cultural activities.

During their visit, the students will enjoy American traditions and pastimes such as bowling, pizza, shopping, and karaoke. They will visit local attractions, including Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory, Yankee Candle, Old Sturbridge Village, the Holyoke Mall, and area restaurants.

Elms College is a co-educational, Catholic college offering a liberal arts curriculum that gives students multiple perspectives on life. Founded in 1928 by the Sisters of St. Joseph, Elms College has a tradition of educating reflective, principled, and creative learners, who are rooted in faith, educated in mind, compassionate in heart, responsive to civic and social obligations, and capable of adjusting to change without compromising principle.

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