Submitted by Barbara Hannum, HPU Director of Intercultural Education Programs
Hawaiʻi Pacific University recently provided students from Hiroshima, Japan a special custom-designed study-tour experience, the eighth since our inaugural program in 2006. From November 13 to December 1, 2017, a group of 17 students from Hiroshima College of Foreign Languages (HCFL) enjoyed a challenging yet rewarding three-week intensive Hospitality and English Program prepared and coordinated by Intercultural Education Programs Director Barbara Hannum with support from the TESOL Programs and the Dept. of English and Applied Linguistics.
A successful balance of academic and experiential learning, the program featured “English for Interaction” classes designed to build fluency in speaking and listening, customized classes in hospitality, tourism, language, and culture, special topics lectures on hospitality marketing and business strategies in Hawai‘i and the U.S. by Hospitality & Tourism Management faculty Dr. Wendy Lam and Dr. Dae Woo Park, observational visits to HPU classes in business, marketing, and Japanese, cultural presentations by HCFL students to HPU students, fluency-building workshops, and conversation sessions with HPU students and Center for Academic Success tutors. A special cultural lesson and hula workshop was provided by Kumu Tracie Lopes, who taught the group a meaningful hula about Aloha Tower and how to make ti-leaf lei.
The HCFL students also enjoyed a guided tour of historic downtown Honolulu, a visit to the State Art Museum, and a “Waikiki scavenger hunt” to the Royal Hawaiian and Sheraton Moana hotels led by Dr. Lam. The two cohorts of students also shared a full day of experiential learning and site visits: one group, comprised of hospitality and tourism majors, received an extensive tour of the Four Seasons Resort, where they learned about strategic branding/target marketing and were also treated to a delicious lunch! From there they traveled to the airport for a guided tour and presentation by Hawaiian Airlines marketing and sales management staff. The other group, comprised of English majors, enjoyed a morning at Hawaiʻi Baptist Academy sharing cultural presentations with HBA Japanese classes and observing other special HBA classes as well. They, too, were treated to a very special lunch and cultural exchange session by HBA administrators, staff, and selected students.
The HCFL students all stayed with local families through the Hawai‘i Homestay Program, so they spent evenings and weekends learning about and experiencing American and local culture, especially enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday. The program culminated in a memorable HPU Completion Ceremony and Aloha Luncheon on Friday, December 1. We look forward to welcoming the next group in 2019 for another memorable and meaningful educational exchange between two universities and long-time friends.