ASP class of 2017 arrives on campus next week

by University Communications,

  • ASP students arrive

Campus community encouraged to make the new Bearcats feel at home.

The American Studies Program (ASP) class of 2017 arrives next Monday, Feb. 6 — so let’s give them a warm welcome!

This year, 119 students from Japan, China and Taiwan will make their way to Willamette. Over the next year, as these ASP students improve their English language skills and participate in other CLA courses, they will add a valuable international perspective and diversity to campus.

Various opportunities are available on arrival day and throughout the year for Willamette community members to participate in and benefit from this mutually enriching cultural exchange.

Welcome to Willamette

In order to create an Opening Days-like buzz, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to gather at the Hatfield Fountain around 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Monday as the students’ buses arrive on campus.

If you’re unable to meet the ASP students when they arrive, you have the chance to get to know them — and help them get to know Willamette — over dinner Monday evening. Willamette staff and students, along with Tokyo International University of America (TIUA) staff, have organized a welcome and opening program at Goudy, starting around 4:50 p.m. that includes guest speakers and performances by some of the university’s a capella groups.  

Students, faculty and staff who would like to engage ASP students in conversation and help them navigate Goudy on their first night are welcome to attend dinner. If you don’t have a meal plan, email Sarah Shinn <sshinn>, who has a limited number of guest meal cards available.

If you have any questions about ASP arrival or how to get involved, contact Sarah Shinn <sshinn>, TIUA associate director of student life; Kendrick Arakaki <karakaki>, TIUA campus life coordinator; or Jordis Miller <jemiller>, Willamette campus recreation coordinator.

Becoming part of the community

Faculty and staff are also invited to become hosts in the Tomodachi (friendship) Program, which matches ASP students with people who help them feel part of the local community and learn more deeply about U.S. society and culture.

Not a "host family" program, Tomodachi simply asks volunteers to invite ASP students about once a month to everyday family activities and holidays, such as birthday parties, baseball games, barbecues, Sunday dinners and Thanksgiving. Volunteers typically enjoy and gain as much from these informal cultural exchanges as the ASP students do.

With 119 ASP students this year, Tomodachi volunteers are needed more than ever. Volunteers can participate all year or for either the spring or fall semester.

If you’re interested in participating in the Tomodachi Program, contact Barby Dressler, TIUA director of university relations and special relations, at bdressle@willamette.edu or x3330.

Student professional development opportunities

TIUA is always looking to hire Willamette students who are interested in cross-cultural engagement, leadership development, and academic and administrative support. Opportunities throughout the year include:

  • International peer coaches, similar to Opening Days leader, who work with the ASP students during spring semester to orient them to Willamette University;
  • Academic peer tutors who support ASP students in their academic work during spring, summer, and fall semesters (ASP has a summer semester, May-June);
  • Community associates, similar to RAs, who create programming during the ASP summer semester and break (May-August);
  • International program assistants who staff the TIUA front desk and support academic and administrative projects (spring, summer, and fall); and
  • Program assistants, who work on a special two-week summer program where prospective first-year students from Tokyo International University visit Willamette and participate on an American cultural tour.

For further information about these positions, email info@tiua.edu. Most positions are advertised through Willamette’s career services database or on the TIUA website.