Kauai CC students off to Okinawa for Student Exchange Program

Kauaʻi Community College
Cammie Matsumoto, (808) 245-8280
Dir. Comm Relations & Spec Proj, Chancellor's Office
Posted: Oct 19, 2015

LIHUE—Sage Kreisler and Kylee Sugibayashi are embarking on a journey of a lifetime, where they will live and study abroad for a year as exchange students at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan. Each person was recommended to the program by a committee at Kaua‘i CC and formally accepted by educators at the University of the Ryukyus.

Okinawa is famously known as the “southern gate to Japan.”  It comprises of about 160 islands with a population of approximately 1. 4 million. Formerly known as the Ryukyu Kingdom, its interactions with China, Southeast Asia and Oceania have resulted in a unique blend of culture, arts, cuisine, and history.

Kreisler, in his second year at Kaua'i CC, has committed to the University of the Ryukyus total immersion program where he will concentrate  on learning Japanese, Hospitality & Tourism, and Liberal Arts. He plans to transfer to UH Manoa after earning his degree at Kaua'i CC.

Sugibayashi, proficient in Japanese language, wants to take full advantage of the opportunity of living in a Japanese speaking environment to further improve his skills. He will also focus on Okinawan and Japanese culture, arts and history courses of study.

Kaua'i CC and the University of the Ryukyus have a longstanding relationship spanning over 30 years, which now includes a Student Exchange Agreement. The purpose of the partnership is to provide students with opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of cultures outside of their own and be nurtured into global-minded individuals. As part of this agreement, this is the first time students from Kaua'i CC will be studying in Okinawa. While Kaua'i CC has welcomed Okinawan students for short-term programs of study over the years, it hopes to see University of the Ryukyus students on campus for year-long study. Here, they have unique opportunities to perfect their English speaking skills, experience western higher education and learn about life and culture in another part of the world.

Kyko Ikeda, coordinator of International Education at Kaua'i CC, looks to the future and likens her role at the College to “a midwife, for things that want to be born," she said. "My role is to prepare things to be."

Helen Cox, Kaua'i CC Chancellor, views this expansion of the Kaua'i CC and University of the Ryukyus relationship as a clear sign that the college is moving in the right direction. She strongly endorses the development of international education believing that, “the opportunity to learn about another culture, particularly from being immersed in that culture, changes not only individual lives but our collective ability to work together to address the world’s challenges.”