Staff members from Japanese university visit Queen's

Students aren’t the only people who come to Queen’s on exchange.

Waseda University staff members Kunito Koizumi and Takako Ota enrolled last semester in the 12-week English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program offered by the Queen’s School of English (QSoE). The Japanese visitors also volunteered at the Faculty of Arts and Science International Programs Office (IPO).

Waseda University staff member Takako Ota spent last semester job shadowing Queen's employees.

“My teacher was very helpful. I feel that my English has improved,” says Ms Ota, who develops international programs at the Tokyo-based university. “I also got a lot of materials and resources that I will take home and share with my colleagues.”

Queen’s and Waseda signed a memorandum of understanding in 2007 that, among other things, allows for staff exchanges that transfer knowledge of administrative practices. Waseda also sends its staff members abroad so they can improve their English skills to better serve that university’s international exchange students.

Queen’s hosted the first Waseda staff member last year.

In the EAP program, students spend over 25 hours in the classroom every week.

“Our goal is to give the staff members, as well as the other students enrolled in the EAP program, a solid grounding in English for academic purposes by focusing on the four language skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking,” says QSoE program coordinator Karen Burkett.

Kunito Koizumi, a staff member at a university in Japan, studied at the School of English last semester.

“I found the program difficult. It was challenging only speaking English all of the time,” says Mr. Koizumi, who works Waseda’s law faculty.

On top of their school commitments, Mr. Koizumi and Ms Ota spent two to four hours each week job-shadowing in the IPO. Jenny Corlett, manager of the IPO, also arranged for Mr. Koizumi and Ms Ota to visit other offices on campus.

“Having Kunito and Takako here helped us better understand the Japanese university exchange system,” says Ms Corlett. “Because Waseda is a relatively new exchange partner, there is still a lot to learn.”

More Waseda staff members may visit Queen’s next year. The Japanese university, which pays the staff members’ tuition and other costs, sees the staff exchange as an important part of its strategy to attract more international exchange students.