Massey University's professional development centre has celebrated a decade of running an international study tour for students of Meisei University in Tokyo, Japan.
Every year, a group of students from Meisei come to Massey to take part in the English Communication and Cultural Understanding programme, run by the Professional and Continuing Education (PaCE) centre.
Open to students from all faculties and departments of Meisei, the programme is designed to improve English language skills in a native speaking environment and develop a greater understanding and appreciation of other cultures. It emphasises learning through participation and experience.
This four-week programme includes integrated English classes, where they join with the Intensive English Language Studies classes in the morning and a tailor-made programme in the afternoon, which includes cultural activities and field trips such as a marae visit, beach trip, white-water rafting, farm tour, Wellington exploration, bush walk, school visits and a picnic with the host families they stay with in Manawatū. The homestays are considered an integral part of the overall programme.
Professor Paul Robertson from Meisei and his wife, Satoko, accompanied the group. They play a large role in the continued cooperation and success of the tour each year. Professor Robertson worked as a primary school teacher and teacher trainer in New Zealand before moving to Japan.
Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International) Professor Ingrid Day attended a ceremony marking the anniversary involving PaCE staff and this year's Meisei students. Professor Day presented Professor Robertson with a double twist wooden carved sculpture called a pikorua, which symbolises the strength and beauty of enduring friendship and interwoven lives. “Sustained relationships such as this are fundamental to growing our international presence,” she said.