English Language Institute and Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center Launches Inaugural Virtual Exchange with Tohoku University

The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center at the University of Montana in partnership with the English Language Institute has launched an inaugural virtual exchange program with Tohoku University of Sendai, Japan. The multicultural exchange is designed to foster cross-cultural engagement between Japanese and UM students through global environmental issues.

Interactive sessions will connect 40 UM students from the Japanese department and the Franke Global Leadership Initiative with 20 Japanese students to explore culture and society while developing skills in leadership, intercultural communication, and citizen diplomacy.

The English Language Institute will be providing instruction of English language, U.S. culture, and citizen diplomacy over the next two weeks for the Japanese students.

“Despite the current inability to travel, UM has continued to develop unique opportunities to internationalize communities statewide,” said Mansfield Center Executive Director Deena Mansour. “This program is an exciting demonstration of how technology enables continued cross-cultural education for students at UM and around the world.”

In addition to opportunities for students, the exchange includes interaction with homestay families from the Missoula community and provides an introduction to Montana resources, including Glacier and Yellowstone national parks and the National Bison Range.

The exchange is supported in part by the Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle in recognition of the important bilateral relationship between Montana and Japan.

Mike Mansfield served as U.S. ambassador to Japan from 1977 to 1988, promoting close relations between Montanans and the people of Japan. The relationship continues to this day, as evidenced by the location of the sole international Montana trade office in Kumamoto, and the traditionally large numbers of Japanese students at Montana universities.

More information is available at www.umt.edu/mansfield.